Xinyi photo-voltaic power station on August 21, 2016 in Songxi, China.

  • The world added more solar power capacity than fossil fuels in 2017, a sign of the sector's strength.
  • The sector attracted $160.8 billion (R1.9 trillion) in investment in 2017.
  • China was the biggest investor in renewable energy in 2017, sinking $126.6 billion (R153 trillion) into the industry, a 30% increase over 2016. 

The world added more solar power capacity than any other type of energy in 2017, outpacing all fossil fuels, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In 2017, solar energy attracted $160.8 billion in investment in 2017, an 18% increase over 2016. 

Renewable energy, including wind, hydro, and solar, supplied a record 12% of the world's energy needs, according to the report.

Global investment in renewable energy held steady over last year, with over $200 billion (R2.4 trillion) invested. China was the biggest contributor, sinking $126.6 billion (R153 trillion) alone into the sector, a 30% increase over 2016, according to the report. 

Since 2004, the world has invested over $2.9 trillion (R35 trillion) into renewable energy.

The chart below shows net capacity growth for different electricity sources, factoring in power plant closures. Coal was the hardest hit, according to Carbon Brief:

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