By Nina Chestney
LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) - A record amount of renewable power capacity was installed worldwide last year as solar and wind costs fell, becoming more competitive with fossil fuels, research by renewables policy organisation REN21 showed on Tuesday.
New installations of renewable power generation capacity (including hydropower) rose to 1,848.5 gigawatts (GW) globally in 2015, an increase of 147.2 GW from the previous year, Paris-based REN21's annual renewables global status report showed.
This is the largest ever annual increase in installed capacity and was mainly driven by renewables becoming more cost-competitive with oil, coal and gas in many markets and an increase in government policies to support the growth of clean energy, it added.
Global new investment in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydropower) rose to $285.9 billion last year from $273 billion in 2014, the report said.
Including large hydro projects, new investment was at least $328.9 billion, REN21 added.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance research estimated that clean energy investment worldwide reached a record $329.3 billion last year.
"The renewables train is barrelling down the tracks, but it's running on 20th century infrastructure - a system based on outdated thinking where conventional baseload is generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power," said Arthouros Zervos, chair of REN21.
For governments to achieve their emissions cut targets under a global deal to tackle climate change called the Paris Agreement they need to integrate more renewables into the grid; design policies to financially discourage fossil fuel investment and remove risks from investing in renewables, the report added.
(Editing by David Evans)
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