Cleantech Sectors of Solar, Wind and Smart Grid All Up in Venture Capital (VC) Investments in 2010, Reports Mercom Capital Group

Smart Grid Has Its Best Year; Solar Slightly Up From 2009

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - January 19, 2011) - Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy market intelligence, consulting and communications firm, today released 2010 merger and acquisition (M&A) and funding activity for the cleantech sectors of solar, smart grid and wind.

"Considering 2009 was a recession year, solar was only slightly up in 2010. After a good Q2, VC investments trended down in Q3 and Q4," commented Raj Prabhu, Managing Partner at Mercom Capital Group. 2010 VC activity came in at $1.67 billion in 65 transactions, up 18 percent over 2009 ($1.4 billion). Activity increased in large-scale solar project funding, debt and other funding types, pointing to an ease in the availability of credit after a challenging 2009. 148 different investors participated in VC funding rounds in 2010. Solar M&A transactions in 2010 totaled $2B in 44 deals. 

Large-scale project funding came to $4.1B in 2010, while debt and other funding logged in $36B, of which an eye-popping $34B was provided by Chinese Government Banks to Chinese companies, dwarfing all other solar transactions in 2010. LDK Solar, Yingli Solar, JA Solar, Suntech and Trina Solar were the largest beneficiaries.

Notable VC transactions for the solar sector in 2010 included BrightSource Energy for $176M, followed closely by Solyndra for $175M and Amonix for $129.4M.

"It was a banner year for Smart Grid in terms of VC funding and M&A activity, with VC funding almost doubling compared to 2009. 87 different investors participated in VC rounds in 2010," further commented Raj Prabhu. VC funding in the Smart Grid sector was at its highest with $769M in 51 deals, an 88 percent increase over 2009 ($410M). M&A activity was also robust for the Smart Grid sector in 2010 with 40 transactions. Only four were disclosed for a total of $1.3B, of which $1B was the acquisition of Ventyx by ABB.

Top Smart Grid VC transactions included the $165M raise by Landis+Gyr, the $106M raise by Trilliant and the $52M raise by OpenPeak. The acquisition of Ventyx by ABB for more than $1B remained the largest M&A transaction for the year. 

The Wind sector also saw a 40 percent increase in VC and PE activity in 2010 with $277M invested compared to $198M in 2009. Large offshore wind projects boosted project funding activity to over $9 billion in 2010. M&A transactions in the Wind sector came to $1.3B in 23 deals, with the $860M acquisition of John Deere Renewables by Exelon making up the bulk of it. 

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Contact Information:

Wendy Prabhu
Mercom Capital Group