A new report offers good news for solar and other forms of clean technology: Cleantech venture and corporate investments around the globe totaled $8.99 billion in 2011, a 13% increase over 2010, according to research firm Cleantech Group's preliminary results for last year. In addition, cleantech mergers and acquisitions reached record highs in 2011, with 391 deals and a dollar volume of $41.2 billion, a robust 153% growth over 2010.
Throughout 2011, investment totals grew while the number of deals declined by 7% compared to 2010, an indication that average round size is increasing, according to Cleantech Group. Of the 713 deals, 61% (438) were Series B or later rounds, accounting for 85% ($7.64 billion) of all money invested during the year.
Investments in North America grew significantly from $5.20 billion in 2010 to $6.81 billion in 2011 – a 30% increase. On the other hand, Europe and Israel took a step back, with $1.30 billion invested in 2011 compared to $1.84 billion in 2010.
According to the report, solar was the leading sector by amount invested ($1.81 billion) in 111 deals, including action from the following companies:
- BrightSource Energy raised $201 million from VantagePoint Capital Partners, Alstom and others;
- Stion raised $130 million from AVACO, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Khosla Ventures and others; and
- Miasole raised $106 million from VantagePoint Capital Partners, Voyageur Mutual Funds and others.
Cleantech Group notes that it has high hopes for clean technologies in the coming year.
‘While 2011 has been a difficult year for cleantech and venture capital, our 2011 numbers show surging interest in cleantech from global enterprises," says Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group." Despite some of the well-publicized headwinds, venture capitalists continue to invest in cleantech. Based on our historical data, we believe 2012 will be an all-time record year for global cleantech investments."