Total corporate funding in the global solar sector (including venture capital funding, public market and debt financing) in the third quarter of 2017 (Q3’17) grew 74% compared to Q2’17, with $2.4 billion raised in 45 deals, according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group. The clean energy communications and consulting firm notes the Q3’17 total compares to $1.4 billion raised in 37 deals in Q2’17.
“Debt financing activity outside of the United States helped bump up corporate funding in the third quarter as financing activity in the United States was muted ahead of the Suniva anti-dumping case decision,” comments Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
Year-over-year (YoY), the report notes, funding in Q3’17 was about 19% lower compared to the $3 billion raised in Q3’16.
According to the report, total solar corporate funding in the first nine months of 2017 (9M’17) was slightly lower compared to the same period in 2016, with about $7.1 billion raised compared to the $7.5 billion raised in 9M’16. There were 143 deals in 9M’17 compared to 125 deals in the same period of 2016.
The report adds that global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for the solar sector in 9M’17 rose a slight 7% to $985 million from $925 million raised during the same period in 2016, largely due to a strong first quarter in 2017.
In Q3’17, VC funding for the solar sector doubled with $269 million raised in 23 deals compared to $128 million raised in the same number of deals during Q2’17. Most of the VC funding raised in Q3’17 (72%) went to solar downstream companies with $193 million in 13 deals.
The report says the top VC deal in Q3’17 was the $100 million raised by Indian rooftop installer CleanMax Solar. It was followed by the $56 million raised by Singapore’s Sunseap Group, the $21 million secured by Sol Voltaics, and Ampt’s $15 million. Ubiquitous Energy also raised $15 million. A total of 35 investors participated in solar funding in Q3’17.
Solar public market funding was approximately 12% lower compared to the first nine months of 2016, with $1 billion raised in 9M’17 compared to $1.2 billion raised during the same period of 2016. The report notes public market financing fell significantly in Q3’17 with just $79 million in four deals, down from $473 million raised in six deals in Q2’17.
During the first 9M’17, debt financing activity accounted for $5.1 billion in 51 deals, which was almost 6% lower compared to the same period in 2016, when $5.4 billion was raised in 55 deals. In Q3’17, announced debt financing rose steeply to $2.1 billion in 18 deals compared to the $798 million raised in eight deals during the Q2’17.
In the top debt deals, the report says, Greenko Energy Holdings raised $1 billion in green bonds in two separate deals, $650 million and $350 million. Cypress Creek Renewables also received $450 million from Temasek, the report adds.
Announced large-scale project funding in 9M’17 crossed the $10 billion mark, with $10.2 billion raised for the development of 117 projects. For the Q3’17 alone, announced large-scale project funding came in at more than $2.8 billion in 36 deals.
Announced residential and commercial solar funds totaled $2.2 billion in 9M’17, which was lower by almost 35% when compared to the $3.4 billion raised during the same period of 2016.
The report says 9M’17 saw a total of 58 solar merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, compared to the 48 transactions seen in the same period of 2016. There were 18 solar M&A transactions in Q3’17, up from 11 seen in Q2’17 and equal to the number of transactions (18) posted in Q3’16. Of the 18 total transactions in Q3’17, 13 involved solar downstream companies, three involved PV manufacturers, and there was one transaction each by a BOS company and an equipment provider, the report adds.
There were 161 large-scale project acquisitions in 9M’17 aggregating over 14.6 GW, compared to 145 project acquisitions totaling just 7.1 GW during the same period of 2016.
Similar to Q2’17, investment firms and funds were the most active acquirers in Q3’17, with 26 projects for over 2 GW, followed by project developers with 16 transactions totaling over 1.1 GW.
Mercom says it tracked 296 new large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q3’17 totaling 15.7 GW.
To learn more about the report, visit Mercom’s website here.