Overall, U.S. investment bank Peachtree Capital Advisors 2011 Greentech M&A Review found that transactions in the American greentech sector fell six percent from US$14,7 billion in 2010, to $13.9 billion in 2011.
Of this $13.9 billion, greentech funding comprised $10.6 billion, which represents a four percent annual increase, while the remaining $3.3 billion represented merger and acquisition (M&A) activity – a 29 percent drop on 2010.
Although 2011 saw an overall decrease in greentech transaction value, at $4.3 billion, the transaction value in the solar sector showed an increase of 36 percent. Meanwhile, of the 353 transactions completed, solar accounted for 94, coming second only to the storage and efficiency sector, which boasted 152 transactions.
Peachtree attributes this increase to the "strength of follow-on investments in later-stage technologies". It adds, however, that "with the bulk of renewable energy funding comprised of late-stage investments, future innovation in the pipeline looms as a concern."
It believes, however, that the "continued ambiguity" of U.S. energy policy may represent a greater concern. It explains, "Although not entirely surprising, the politicalization of energy policy in Washington resulted in very little getting done. With elections arriving in 2012, this trend will likely persist for the foreseeable future."
Overall, the bank does believe that there is a positive future for solar in the U.S.
According to Peachtree, Totals acquisition of SunPower last May represented the largest solar transaction of 2011, at $380 million. Existing Investors $201 million capital raise for BrightSource Energy was said to represent the second, while at $200 million, Unique Capitals capital raise for EPG Solar ranked third, along with U.S. Bancorps $200 million capital raise for SunRun and Wells Fargos $200 million capital raise for Carlsbad Solar project (SunEdison).