Cleantech VC Investments Way Up

And now for some good economic news: cleantech venture capital (VC) investments in the US in the first quarter of 2011 have increased by 54% over the first quarter of 2010.

According to market analysis by Ernst & Young, $1.14 billion in VC changed hands in the first quarter of this year (up from $743.3 million during the same period last year) despite the fact that there have been fewer deals made overall (79 versus 69).

MiaSole Thin Film Solar

image via MiaSole

A major factor here is the size of the top ten deals made in the first quarter of 2011, which altogether totaled $683.1 million. This amounts to 60% of the total raised for the quarter, of which two alone accounted for 18% of the total dollars raised.

Solar continued to lead the charge, accounting for 32% of the total dollars raised for the quarter with $362.7 million–a 162% gain from the first quarter of 2010. A big winner in this segment was MiaSole, a Northern California manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels. The company netted  the largest deal of the quarter and raised $106 million in a later-stage round of financing.

Other cleantech sectors with significant VC growth in the first quarter of 2011 include energy storage, industry-focused products and services, and alternative fuels. A complete list of cleantech sectors–along with more first quarter market analysis from Ernst & Young–is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.