Solar tops investment sector for 3Q09, says Cleantech

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Although way below record levels of investment made in 2007 and 2008, solar has surpassed biotech and IT in attracting funding in the third quarter of 2009, according to the new report from the Cleantech Group and financial advisory firm Deloitte. The report notes that investments in solar businesses reached US$451 million in the quarter, equating to 28% of sector funding, up from 13% in the previous quarter.

Funding deals of note were led by CIGS thin film firm, Solyndra, which raised US$198 million from a group of investors led by Argonaut Private Equity.

CPV start-up, SolFocus, was able to close its Series C fundraising on US$77.6 million from investors including Apex Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, NGEN, Yellowstone Capital, Demeter Partners, and affiliates of Advanced Equities.

“The billions in government funding being allocated globally in clean technology have begun emboldening private capital, which has in turn helped propel clean technology to the leading venture investment sector, now eclipsing biotech and IT,” said Dallas Kachan, Managing Director, Cleantech Group. “The two largest venture deals (Solyndra and Tesla Motors) and the largest IPO (A123Systems) this quarter were all recipients of U.S. government funding. Hundreds of millions of dollars in new venture funds this quarter are also evidence of investor confidence and momentum, including $1.1 billion in two new funds by Khosla Ventures alone.”

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