The study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said 2011 saw investment in renewable energy rise 17% on 2010 to an all time high of $257 billion.
But the best performing part of the renewables sector in 2011 was solar, which attracted nearly twice as much investment as wind.
Total investment in solar power jumped 52% to $147 billion, while in wind it fell 12% to $84 billion, a consequence of lower turbine prices, policy uncertainty in Europe and the US and a slowdown in China, the report said.
Nevertheless, the UNEP report’s sister publication, the 2012 Global Status Report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, said that wind power saw the biggest capacity increase of any renewable in 2011, growing 20% to 238GW globally.
It also reported that the cost of onshore wind turbines fell by 10% last year, bringing the cost of wind energy generation closer to parity with fossil fuels.