South Africa has made impressive progress in clean energy investments, making it into the top 10 countries, according to the Pew Environment Who’s winning the clean energy race? 2012 Edition report just out.

According to the report, South Africa’s long-delayed clean energy ambitions took hold in 2012, as the nation rose from last place to ninth among G-20 members, with $5,5-billion invested.

“From a 2011 total of less than $30-million, clean energy investment in South Africa grew an astonishing 20 500%, orders of magnitude higher than any other G-20 member,” according to the report.

“Investment grew in response to the country’s established clean energy targets and feed-in tariff incentives. The South African solar sector attracted $4,3-billion in 2012, or 80% of the total. Another $1,1-billion was invested in the nation’s wind sector.

“All of the money invested in South Africa was in the form of asset financing for larger commercial and utility-scale projects, much of which was encouraged through International Finance concessionary financing.”

Globally, 2012 investments in clean energy declined 11%, to $269-billion. However, the sector weathered the withdrawal of priority incentives and initiatives offered by governments in numerous key markets, demonstrating its resilience.

The clean energy sector also continues to demonstrate dynamism, with the cost of wind, solar and other sources declining in the global marketplace.

A notable trend in 2012 was the growth of clean energy markets in smaller countries outside the Group of 20, or G-20. Investment there increased by 52%, to more than $20-billion, while G-20 nations – the world’s leading rich and developing countries – experienced a collective decline in private investment of 16%, attracting $218-billion.