Global investments in clean energy projects dropped by 11%, a new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
Still, the report found that some $268.7 billion were invested in clean energy in 2012, making it the second most successful year on record for the global sector.
China set a new record in cleantech investments, as they added 20%, to $67.7 billion, giving Beijing top-investor spot for 2012.
While the latest BNEF figures indicate a slowdown in investment in key markets such as the United States, Spain and Italy, they also noted strong growth in China, South Africa and Japan – the latter capitalizing off of Tokyo's launch of the country's post-Fukushima renewable energy subsidy scheme.
"We warned at the start of last year that investment in 2012 was likely to fall below 2011 levels, but rumors of the death of clean energy investment have been greatly exaggerated," Michael Liebreich, BNEF's chief executive officer was quoted by The Guardian as saying.
"Indeed, the most striking aspect of these figures is that the decline was not bigger – given the fierce headwinds the clean energy sector faced in 2012 as a result of policy uncertainty, the ongoing European fiscal crisis, and continuing sharp falls in technology costs. Solar PV module prices, for instance, fell another 24 per cent over the course of last year."
Liebreich further predicted emerging markets were likely to play a key role in the expansion of the continued expansion of the global clean energy sector.
The data collected in 2012, he said, "Suggests that investment is broadening rapidly, from established markets such as Europe, the US and China, to new ones in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Oceania," he said.
"Australia, South Africa, Morocco, the Ukraine, Mexico, Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, Chile and South Korea were among the countries seeing at least one project of more than $250 million financed during the year."
The report also found that investments in small-scale renewable energy projects, which rose from $76.5 billion in 2011 to $80.2 billion in 2012; as well as government-funded clean energy research, which rose to $30.2 billion.