LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - New clean energy investment worldwide rose by 3 percent last year to $333.5 billion from a year earlier, driven by a surge in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, research showed on Tuesday.
The figure is below 2015's record amount of $360.3 billion, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said in an annual report.
Solar investment totalled $160.8 billion in 2017, up 18 percent from the previous year even though technology costs have fallen. Just over half of that was spent in China, the research showed.
"The 2017 total is all the more remarkable when you consider that capital costs for the leading technology solar continue to fall sharply. Typical utility-scale PV systems were about 25 percent cheaper per megawatt last year than they were two years earlier," said Jon Moore, the chief executive of BNEF.
Chinese investment in clean energy as a whole totalled $132.6 billion last year, up 24 percent from a year earlier to a record high.
Europe invested $57.4 billion, down 26 percent from the previous year, and the United States invested $56.9 billion, up 1 percent on 2016.
Meanwhile, $127.9 billion changed hands last year - the highest amount ever - as organizations purchased and sold clean energy projects and companies and refinanced existing project debt.
Private equity buy-outs reached a record high of $15.8 billion, six times higher than the previous year. The largest acquisition transaction of 2017 was Brookfield Asset Management's purchase of a stake in U.S. TerraForm Power for $4.7 billion, the report said. (Reporting by Nina Chestney, editing by Larry King)