Q3 2011: Venture capital funding steady, mergers and acquisitions robust

11. October 2011 | Global PV markets, Markets & Trends | By:  Jonathan Gifford

In the latest report from clean energy consultants Mercom Capital Group, it has been revealed that solar continues to attract venture capital funding, while merger and acquisitions activity heats up.

The report, released today, is for the third quarter (Q3) of 2011 and it shows venture capital investment being steady with 29 disclosed deals totaling USD372 million. This is slightly up on the previous quarter in worth USD354 worth of investment took place.

"VC funding so far this year is on pace with 2010 and M&A activity is picking up,” commented Raj Prabhu, Managing Partner at Mercom Capital Group. “The number of M&A transactions in 2011 has already surpassed 2010 numbers, signaling that the move towards industry consolidation may have begun."

In venture capital funding deals covered by the Mercom Capital report, the top five include the USD85 million raised by thin-film manufacturer HelioVolt, USD50 million to rooftop photovoltaic developer, owner and operator OneRoof Energy, USD26 to vertically integrated manufacturer Calisolar, USD25 million to Clean Power Finance and USD23.5 million for an ultra thin-film producer Solexant.

In trends, down-stream companies received the most funding, closely followed by thin-film companies.

In mergers and acquisitions activity 20 transactions took place, the highest number in a quarter since 2010. Only eight of those disclosed details, the most prominent being Solar Silicon Valley’s acquisitions by JA Solar for USD180 million and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures by MEMC for USD131 million.

A trend towards industry consolidation became apparent earlier in the year with the most notable example being 60 percent acquisition of SunPower by French oil giant Total. The deal, which cost some USD1.4 billion, went through mid-year.

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