Drops in solar cell prices and surging interest in producing nations led to a 32% improve in investments in renewable power globally in 2010, a United Nations report finds.

General, the $211 billion in 2010 investments in renewable power – wind, solar, geothermal and connected technologies – was driven by policies in nations that increasingly involve such power globally. The United Nations Surroundings Programme report finds that Chinese wind farms and German solar rooftops led investments but, surprisingly, establishing nations spent more on renewable energy utility projects, $72 billion, than developed ones, at $70 billion.“Quite a jump, looking at the financial headwinds, a surprisingly optimistic result,” says UNEP’s Virginia Sonntag-O’Brien. The “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011” report, the fifth in an annual series, analyzed 26,300 renewable power projects recorded for the year by the London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance firm.

Among the findings:

•China led all nations with about $49.eight billion in investments, ahead of German spending of $41 billion and U.S. spending of $29.six billion.

•Big gains came in small-scale projects such as rooftop solar panels, up 91% to $60 billion, tied to stimulus spending by nations in 2010, and government research, up 121% to $5.three billion.