Cleantech VC Takes Quarterly Tumble

Clean technology companies in North America, Europe, China and India raised $1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2011, according to a report from the Cleantech Group. But as impressive as that total sounds, cleantech venture investment actually fell 33 percent from the first quarter of 2011, when $2.75 billion was raised. The second-quarter figure is also 10 percent lower than the $2.03 billion raised in the same quarter in 2010. Two thirds of the investments completed in the latest quarter – accounting for 87 percent of the total amount invested – were Series B or later funding rounds.

Energy efficiency companies raised $428 million led by Bridgelux, an energy efficient LED lighting system developer; iControl Networks, a smart home software provider; and Hara, a cloud-based enterprise energy and resource management software provider. Biofuels and biomaterials companies raised $237 million across 12 deals. Interestingly, Quebec-based Enerkem took $60 million from Waste Managementoil refiner Valero Energy and others.

cleantech investment

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Solar companies closed 27 deals valued at $363 million. Suniva, a Georgia-based photovolatic cell manufacturer, raised $94.4 million. The U.K.-based developer of micro-inverters for solar PV systems, Enecsys, raised $41.3 million and China-based Royal Tech Solar received $35.7 million.

And not to be left in the cold, the transportation sector also prospered in the second quarter, with substantial investments in Fisker Automotive, electric bus manufacturer Proterra and California-based smart parking provider Streetline.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) were strong, the Cleantech Group report said. Six of the quarter’s 11 IPOs came out of China, with the $800 million IPO for Huaneng Renewable Energy leading the pack. (Althoug,h notably, Huaneng’s stock tumbled one day after the IPO.)  The IPOs of Solazyme and KiOR were the most high-profile examples of IPOs in the biofuels sector. KiOR also raised capital before its IPO and that investment was included in the total amount raised for biofuel companies during the quarter.

Two major acquisitions were closed the quarter: French energy giant Total acquired a 60 percent stake in solar leader SunPower for $1.37 billion, and Toshiba paid $2.3 million to acquire meter company Landis+Gyr.

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