A new report has revealed that coal and gas-fired generation attracted less than half as much capacity investment as renewables in 2015.
The United Nations-backed report said that the annual worldwide spending in new renewables capacity, at $266bn, was more than double the estimated $130bn invested in coal and gas power stations in 2015.
All investments in renewables, including early-stage technology and research and development as well as investment on new capacity, stood at $286bn in 2015, nearly 3% higher than the earlier record in 2011.
Since 2004, about $2.3 trillion was invested in renewable energy globally (unadjusted for inflation).
The report said that for first time, developing world investments in renewables topped developed nations.
Renewables excluding large hydro accounted 54% of added gigawatt capacity of all technologies in 2015 due to further declines in generating costs per megawatt-hour, especially in solar photovoltaics.
For the year 2015, 134GW of renewable power was added globally , compared to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said: "Renewables are becoming ever more central to our low-carbon lifestyles, and the record-setting investments in 2015 are further proof of this trend."
"Access to clean, modern energy is of enormous value for all societies, but especially so in regions where reliable energy can offer profound improvements in quality of life, economic development and environmental sustainability.
"Continued and increased investment in renewables is not only good for people and planet, but will be a key element in achieving international targets on climate change and sustainable development."
According to report, more attention was drawn to battery storage as an adjunct to solar and wind projects and to small-scale photovoltaic systems.
UNEP said that energy storage plays a key role as it offers fast-responding balancing to the grid, whether to cope with demand spikes or changing renewable energy generation from wind and solar.
In 2015, about 250MW of utility-scale power storage was installed globally, compared to 160MW in 2014.