Clean Energy Investment Slows in First Quarter


April 21, 2012

 Solar and wind power investments are slowing. The latest example of which is thermal solar power company BrightSource pulling its IPO. Last year, the story was a bit different when global investment in clean energy hit a high.


But this year, at least in the the first quarter,  investment has been slower. It is the weakest quarter since the months following the financial crisis of 2008, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Activity was down by 28% from Q4 2011 to USD 27 billion. The bulk of the capital went into asset finance.


Almost USD 2 billion was invested in VC and PE deals, while USD 601 million was raised on the public markets by quoted companies during the period. The biggest deals in VC were a USD 130 million round for US electric auto company Fisker Automotive, a USD 102.6 million deal for biomass startup Tamar Energy, and an USD 81 million round for solar power plant installer SolarCity.


BNEF, which tracks all kinds of financial investment (including venture capital, private equity, public markets and asset finance, but excludes small-scale projects and corporate and government RD&D), attributes the slowdown in investment to “uncertainty over future clean energy support in both the European Union – driven by the financial crisis – and the US – driven by the expiry of stimulus programmes and the electoral cycle”.


The disconnect between politicians and prices for solar and wind energy support comes at a time when these energy sources are poised to compete head on with fossil-fuel power. BNEF says politicians in many countries are “missing the opportunity” to feed the growth trajectory of these emerging energy sources. Image Source: BNEF

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