Corporate and project funding for the solar power sector increased in 2013, according to consultancy Mercom Capital.

The group’s annual funding report claims that large-scale project funding shot from US$8.7 billion in 2012 to US$13.6 billion last year.

Corporate funding also increased to just under US$10 billion, compared to US$8 billion in 2012.

“While venture funding levels were down, overall fundraising was up and public market financings were really strong in 2013,” said Raj Prabhu, chief executive of Mercom Capital Group.

“Higher valuations among public solar companies have opened up the capital markets again as an avenue for fundraising at attractive terms. IPOs are back,” added Prabhu.

Large-scale project finance for PV and concentrated solar power increased with the US$1 billion bond issue for the Solar Star 1 and Solar Star 2 projects in southern California the largest single deal.

Merger and acquisition activity almost doubled in 2013 to US$12.7 billion. Tokyo Electron’s US$9.4 billion acquisition by Applied Materials was the biggest deal followed by ABB’s purchase of Power-One for approximately US$1 billion.

On a less positive note, Mercom tracked 28 companies that went into bankruptcy protection in 2013, with 18 of them manufacturers.

Full details of Mercom’s annual solar financing report are available online

Top solar project finance deals in 2013

US$1 billion
A bond issue by Solar Star Funding for the Solar Star 1 & 2 projects in southern California. Investors undisclosed.

US$498 million
Samsung Renewable Energy’s term loan from a consortium of investors including Rabobank and RBC, for the Grand Renewable Solar Project in southern Ontario.

US$454 million
The Moroccan Solar Energy Agency’s (MASEN) Noor II CSP project received the loan from the German development bank KfW.

US$446 million
The Moroccan Solar Energy Agency’s (MASEN) Noor III CSP project received the loan from the German development bank KfW.

US$400 million
Two deals in the US both hit the US$400 million mark. Recurrent Energy received equity investment from Google and private equity group KKR for six PV projects in Arizona and California.
The second deal saw Sempra Energy raise US$400 million in debt from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and the Bank Of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.