Mercom Capital has published its Q3 2013 Solar Funding and M&A Report, in which the clean energy communications and consultancy firm claims that total corporate funding, global venture capital funding and solar mergers and acquisitions activity all showed increases from the previous quarter. The report also states that in Q3 2013, around 1.27GW in large scale project funding deals totalling US$2.89 billion took place across 37 projects worldwide.

According to the report, total corporate funding in the solar sector for the third quarter of this year was US$2.18 billion. This represented an increase of US$1.27 billion from Q2 2013, when around US$915million came into the sector. The figure includes venture capital, debt financing and other equity financing raised by public companies. Mercom believes this figure was accounted for by public companies taking advantage of rising market values in the quarter.

Venture capital deals reached US$207 million globally in the third quarter, showing an increase of US$18 million from the previous quarter.

The top five venture capital deals all involved US firms, with the exception of Australian dye-sensitised solar cell manufacturer Dyesol. The top five also all represent different areas of the solar industry, from high-efficiency crystalline and silicon solar cell and module maker Solexel, who topped the table with the investment of US$39.9 million, to concentrated solar power firm esolar, third party PV pricing software firm Clean Power Finance, thin-film firm Heliovolt and the aforementioned Dyesol. Of the sectors, PV companies received the most venture capital funding, around US$55 million.

TOP FIVE VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS Q3 2013

  1. Solexel             US$39.9million             (Investors:Technology Partners, DAG Ventures, Northgate Capital, GSV Capital, KCPB Holdings)
  2. ESolar              US$22 million               (Investor: Oak Investment Partners)
  3. Clean Power Finance    US$20 million               (Investor: UAE Fund)
  4. Heliovolt           US$19 million               (Investor: SK Group)
  5. Dyesol              US$16 million               (Investor: Tasnee)

Mergers and acquisitions in solar increased by US$8.5 billion, hitting US$9.8 billion in Q3 across 23 transactions, compared to 18 transactions totalling US$1.3 billion in Q2 of this year. According to Mercom Capital, the vast majority of this, US$9.4 billion, was accounted for with the move by Applied Materials to purchase Tokyo Electron, which took many by surprise. The acquisition cannot be considered purely in the solar sector, but does include Tokyo Electron’s amorphous silicon equipment division. The next biggest transaction in mergers and acquisitions was the US$142 million acquisition of LDK Solar’s Hi-tech (Hefei) by Chinese polysilicon manufacturer Tongwei.

In addition to the 1.27GW across 37 large scale projects that were announced in the quarter, around 3GW of projects changed hands in Q3. This included First Solar’s acquisition of a 1.5GW project development pipeline from Element Power and the purchase of 400MW of projects by Goldpoly New Energy, from a consortium led by GD Solar. 

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