Clean energy investing fell by 6% globally in the third quarter of 2018 as increased spending on electric vehicles was offset by a decline in asset financing for large-scale renewable energy projects and a sharp slowdown in China's solar market, Bloomberg NEF, a market research firm, said Oct. 9.
Overall investment totaled $67.8 billion, putting year-to-date financing approximately 2% below the amount raised during the first nine months of 2017, Bloomberg NEF, or BNEF, said. The firm said a few more big wind deals could close the year-over-year funding gap.
China was the big story of the quarter. Electric vehicle companies based there were involved in the six largest new equity deals during the third quarter, while new policies Beijing unveiled in May led to a 23% decline in solar investment in the world's biggest market, according to BNEF. Total clean energy spending in the country increased slightly, to $26.7 billion.
Globally, corporate funding to the solar sector fell by more than 45% to $1.3 billion, according to Mercom Capital Group LLC, a clean energy research and communications firm. Mercom CEO Raj Prabhu blamed the results on lower demand due to the contraction in China's market and trade tariffs in the U.S. and India.
In the renewable energy sector more broadly, asset financing for utility-scale projects was down 15% during the third quarter, at $49.3 billion. The biggest deals included offshore wind farms in the U.K. and China.
Clean energy investments in the U.S. were down by 20%, at $11.4 billion during the third quarter, according to BNEF.
Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport analysis at BNEF, said investment in electric vehicles was a "conspicuous bright spot" during the third quarter. Three Chinese electric vehicle makers raised $1.9 billion during the quarter from public markets and from venture capital and private equity investors.
"We're seeing more companies raising funds as they look to make the jump from concept cars to high-volume manufacturing," McKerracher said in a news release.