A United Nations-backed organization said on Wednesday that China again led the world in new renewable power capacity installations last year, as well as investment in renewable energy.
China accounted for almost two-thirds of developing country investment in renewable power and fuels in 2014, according to the Global Status Report by the UN-backed Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.
The gains came despite the nation's economic transition and industrial overcapacity, said experts.
By value, the leading countries for investment were China, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany.
China led world investment in hydropower, solar, wind and solar water-heating capacity.
The nation's new investment in renewable energy was $83.3 billion in 2014, compared with $62.2 billion in the previous year, higher than Europe's $57.5 billion and $38.3 billion in the United States.
Renewable energy continued to grow in 2014 against the backdrop of increasing global energy consumption and a dramatic decline in oil prices in the second half of the year.
Experts said growth was driven by several factors, including renewable energy support policies and the increasing cost-competitiveness of energy from renewable sources.
The report also found that for the first time in four decades, the world economy grew without a parallel rise in carbon dioxide emissions. And that was despite the global average increase of 1.5 percent in energy consumption and the average 3 percent growth in GDP.
The landmark "decoupling" of economic and CO2 emissions growth is due in large measure to China's increased use of renewable resources and efforts by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to promote more sustainable growth, including increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, said the report.
The sector's growth could be even greater if the more than $550 billion in annual subsidies for fossil fuel and nuclear energy were removed.
Subsidies perpetuate artificially low energy prices from those sources, encouraging waste and impeding competition from renewables, the report said.
Christine Lins, executive secretary of REN21, said creating a level playing field would strengthen the development and use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
"Removing fossil-fuel and nuclear subsidies globally would make it evident that renewables are the cheapest energy option," Lins said.
Despite spectacular growth of renewable energy capacity in 2014, more than 1 billion people, or 15 percent of the global population, still lack access to electricity.