CleanTech/ Renewable Energy, Finance, Other

Slump in solar VC investments Q1 2013

According to reports, the slump in global venture capital (VC) investments in the solar sector, which started in Q3 2012, continued, dipping to $126 million in 26 deals in Q1 2013, compared to $220 million in 27 deals in the previous quarter, according to Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy consulting firm.

This is the second lowest quarter for VC funding since 2008. In total, downstream companies, mostly solar lease companies, raised $75 million in eight deals, followed by a thin film with $25 million in six deals.

Downstream companies received the most VC funding of all categories this quarter,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO, Mercom Capital Group, while adding: “After being burned by solar technology investments, especially thin film, we are finally seeing VC investments shift away from technologies and towards downstream/lease companies that are benefiting from record low panel prices.”

The top five VC funding deals in Q1 2013 included $30 million raised by OneRoof Energy from Hanwha, followed by $28 million raised by Sungevity from five investors that included Brightpath Capital Partners, Lowe’s, Vision Ridge Partners, Craton Equity Partners, and Eastern Sun Capital Partners.

Rounding out the Top 5 were eSolar, a designer and developer of CSP solar projects now integrating molten salt storage technology, which raised $12.8 million; Crystalsol, a developer of flexible thin film technology, with $11 million raised from Conor Venture Partners, Arax Capital Partners, and Energy Future Invest; Goal Zero, a provider of portable solar power systems which raised $7 million from Mercato Partners and PsomasFMG, a solar system provider, which also raised $7 million from MTI Partners.

M&A activity in the first quarter amounted to $306 million in 15 transactions. The largest disclosed M&A transaction by dollar amount in the first quarter was solar cell manufacturer Goldpoly New Energy Holdings’ acquisition of power plant developer China Merchants New Energy Holdings in a non-cash transaction valued at $273 million.



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