Greentech Lead America: The slump in solar venture capital (VC) investments that started in Q3 2012 continued in Q1 2013, with only $126million in funding reported in 26 deals in Q1 2013.
This is the second lowest quarter for VC funding since 2008. In Q1 2013 the industry procured $220M in VC funding for 27 deals.
In total, downstream companies, mostly solar lease companies, raised $75M in eight deals, followed by thin film with $25M in six deals.
Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, says, “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 benefitting from record low panel prices.”
Some of the top VC funding deals in Q1 2013 include $30M raised by OneRoof Energy from Hanwha; $28M raised by Sungevity from Brightpath Capital Partners, Lowe’s, Vision Ridge Partners, Craton Equity Partners, and Eastern Sun Capital Partners; $12.8M raised by eSolar, a CSP company; $11M raised by crystalsol, a flexible thin film developer from Conor Venture Partners, Arax Capital Partners, and Energy Future Invest; $7M raised by Goal Zero, a provider of portable solar power systems, and $7M raised by PsomasFMG, a solar system provider.
Third party finance/solar lease firms raised about half a billion dollars in residential and commercial project funds in the first quarter with three deals of $100M each. SunPower announced a $100M financing program with U.S. Bancorp, while Bosch Solar Energy established a $100M fund with its subsidiary aleo solar and OneRoof Energy announced a $100M investment for residential solar projects with debt financing by National Bank of Arizona.
M&A activity in the first quarter amounted to $306M in 15 transactions. The largest disclosed M&A transaction by dollar amount in Q1 was cell manufacturer Goldpoly New Energy Holdings’ acquisition of power plant developer China Merchants New Energy Holdings in a non-cash transaction valued at $273M.
Mercom Capital Group