Double-Digit Growth in 3Q Clean Tech Investment Despite Economic, Political Headwinds

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Clean tech investments rose 12% quarterly and 23% year-to-year in 3Q 2011, totaling $3.34 billion and 189 transactions. Slowing activity in major economies and the possibility of another breakdown in the global financial system hampered clean tech investment growth in 3Q, yet overall investment levels continued to exhibit strong growth, according to preliminary results of a Cleantech Group research report.

“While financing remains constrained, it’s great to see growth in venture activity,” said Sheeraz Haji, Cleantech Group CEO. “Energy Storage emerged as our top sector, indicating continued strong interest in advanced technologies for grid-storage as well as for electric vehicles. Global enterprises continue to investment aggressively into clean tech.”

Energy storage topped Cleantech’s investment table for the first time in 3Q, attracting $514 million of capital. Solar, at $350 million, and energy efficiency, at $223 million, followed.

Clean Tech Investment: Geography

Breaking out clean tech investment dollars geographically, North America accounted for 76% of the worldwide total, attracting $1.69 billion in 3Q, a 17% quarterly and 59% annual increase, according to the Cleantech Group’s Quarterly Investment Monitor Report.

Clean tech investments in Europe and Israel fell 34% quarterly and 32% annually in 3Q, to $230 million spread across 40 transactions, down from 44 in 2Q.

Clean tech companies in the Asia-Pacific region raised $303 of capital in 21 transactions. India ranked third after the US and UK in total investment capital raised. China ranked third globally in the number of transactions, according to the Cleantech report.

Clean Tech Venture Capital Investment

IPOs and mergers & acquisitions slowed down on a worldwide basis in 3Q as compared to the first half of 2011, but venture capital (VC) transactions hit a record-high 128 in the US. California attracted 39% ($654 million), Massachusetts 10% ($176 million) and New Mexico 10% ($175 million).

The three biggest VC clean tech investors in the quarter were Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.

Following is a list of the largest investments in each of Cleantech’s top four sectors:

Biggest Deals

ENERGY STORAGE: 19 deals; $514 million

* Bloom Energy, a California-based developer of solid-oxide fuel cell technology, raised $150 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates and others
* Boston-Power, a Massachusetts-based producer of lithium-ion batteries, raised $125 million from Foundation Asset Management, Oak Investment Partners and others
* ClearEdge Power, an Oregon-based manufacturer of silicon-based stationary fuel cells, raised $73.5 million from Kohlberg Ventures, Sempra Energy and others

SOLAR: 33 deals; $350 million

* HelioVolt, a Texas-based developer of CIGS thin-film solar cells, raised $85 million from New Enterprise Associates and SK Group
* OneRoof Solar, a California-based developer, owner and operator of solar energy generation systems for the residential market, raised $50 million from Black Coral Capital, Spring Ventures and others
* CaliSolar, a California-based developer of solar cells that allow the use of non-pure silicon in the manufacturing process, raised $26 million from undisclosed investors

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: 34 deals; $223 million

* Fusion-io, a Utah-based developer of green solutions for servers and workstations, raised $61.5 million from undisclosed investors
* SynapSense, a California-based provider of data center efficiency solutions, raised $16 million from Emerald Technology Ventures, Sequoia Capital and others
* Elstat, a UK-based provider of energy management devices for commercial beverage coolers, raised $15 million from Environmental Technologies Fund

TRANSPORTATION: 15 deals; $177 million

* Coda Automotive, a California-based manufacturer of electric vehicles, raised $66 million from Aeris Capital, Angeleno Group and others in two investment tranches
* INRIX, a Washington-based provider of a predictive traffic services and solutions, raised $37 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and August Capital
* SmartDrive Systems, a California-based provider of fleet management solutions, raised $10 million from New Enterprise Associates and Oak Investment Partners

For more on clean tech investments and trends, check out the following:

  1. Interview with Solar Energy Industry Association’s Tom Kimbis
  2. Small Wind Turbine Growth Projected to Keep Booming
  3. US Military’s Clean Energy Investments Jump 300% from 2006-2009
  4. Wind Energy Webinar — Interesting Information & Graphs


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