Solar Shows Robust VC and M&A Level in 2011


January 11, 2012

Mercom Capital Group, which provides services to the cleantech and energy sectors, published its latest research on solar investment and M&A in 2011, describing the year’s activity as robust.  “The so-called “Solyndra effect” has not been a factor yet, as more than 700 million VC dollars went into over 40 deals since Solyndra announced it would be shutting its doors in August 2011.


Thin-film was the most popular technology for VC investment by far, with $600 million going into the sector. Within thin-film, copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology raised $467 million,” writes Mercom.


Solar continued to gain attention and dollars for technology and innovation through venture capital funding, says Mercom, despite several financial difficulties faced by several high profile manufacturers, a reduce in subsidies in certain key markets, and oversupply of modules in the market, which caused prices to plummet. Venture capital  funding and M&A activity were strong in 2011, setting record numbers.


Key findings


– VC investment in solar totaled USD 1.9 billion in 111 deals in 2011, more deals than ever before in a single year.


– Thin-film technology raised the most VC funding (USD 595.5 million), beating downstream companies, ($339M), crystalline silicon PV (USD 338 million),  concentrated solar power ($308M), and concentrated PV (USD 129 million).


– Within thin-film, copper indium gallium (de)selenide (CIGS) companies were the most popular, raising $467M.


– The top VC investor was Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which completed eight transactions.


– Fourth quarter VC funding totaled USD 511M, compared to USD 372M in Q3.


– M&A doubled activity in 2010, both in volume and number of deals , with over USD4B in 65 deals, compared to USD2B in 44 deals in 2010.


– The largest M&A transaction was Total’s 60 percent stake in SunPower for USD1.4B.


Dealmaking was driven by falling panel prices and oversupply, which brought about a lot of consolidation activity. Valuations of publicly-traded solar companies were at record lows

Get a copy of Mercom’s annual solar funding report and other reports,  here.

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