Total global corporate funding in the solar sector – including venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), debt financing and other equity financings raised by public companies – amounted to $7 billion in the first quarter of 2014 (Q1'14), according to a report from the Mercom Capital Group LLC. This compares with funding of $5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 (Q4'13).
According to the report, global VC funding, PE and corporate VC in Q1'14 totaled $251 million in 26 deals, up from $87 million in 24 deals in Q4'13, Mercom says. Mercom says a significant portion of the activity stemmed from the $125 million raised in a series-C round by Renewable Energy Trust Capital, a finance platform established to acquire and own solar projects.
Solar downstream companies attracted most of the VC funding this quarter, with $182 million in 13 deals.
Mercom reports that there were 43 large-scale project funding deals totaling $3.6 billion announced in Q1'14. The top five large-scale project funding deals included the $942 million loan to China WindPower Group for a range of Chinese photovoltaic projects with a combined capacity of 800 MW, Sempra Energy's $428 million raised for the development of the 250 MW Copper Mountain Solar 3 Project in Nevada, the $305 million raised by SoftBank and Mitsui for the 111 MW Tomatoh Abira Solar Project in Japan, the $250 million raised by Abengoa/Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy for the 110 MW Ashalim Thermo Solar Project in Israel, and the $250 million raised by Japan Solar/Nippon Renewable Energy to develop Japanese solar projects totaling 157.5 MW.
Mercom also notes the continued upward trend in third-party residential and commercial solar lease fundraising in Q1'14, tracking more than $1 billion raised. It was also a record quarter for project acquisitions, with more than 1.7 GW in solar projects totaling $1.5 billion in 42 transactions changing hands.
‘It was a robust quarter for solar as financing activity surged in almost all areas,’ says Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. ‘The big story continues to be strong capital markets. VC funding was up with several funding deals involving investment platforms, while third-party residential/commercial funds continue to raise record amounts.’
To learn more about the report, click here.