$600 Million in VC funding for Solar in 2013, Strong Public Market Financings, Project Funding Activity

Total corporate funding up 25 percent to $10 billion

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in 2013.

Global venture capital (VC) investments dropped 40 percent to $600 million in 97 deals in 2013 compared to $992 million in 106 deals in 2012. Total corporate funding into the solar sector encompassing VC, debt and public market financings was up 25 percent in 2013 to almost $10 billion, compared to about $8 billion in 2012.

VC funding in Q4 2013 totaled $87 million in 24 deals compared to $197 million in 28 deals in Q3 2013. 

Since mid-2012 the new normal for VC funding has been smaller funding quarters and smaller deal sizes. “While venture funding levels were down, overall fundraising was up and public market financings were really strong in 2013,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO 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.”

Solar downstream companies saw the largest amount of VC funding in 2013 with $262 million in 34 deals, accounting for 45 percent of venture funding. Investments in CSP reached $109 million in 12 deals and PV companies were close behind with $104 million in 17 deals. Thin film saw a 77 percent drop in funding from 2012, with $72 million in 2013 compared to $314 million a year earlier. 

The Top 5 VC-funded companies in 2013 were Chinese solar project developer Heifei Golden Sun Technology which raised $69 million; followed by Clean Power Finance, a provider of third party financing for distributed PV projects, which raised $62 million; Solexel, a developer of high-efficiency crystalline silicon solar modules, brought in $55 million; Sungevity, a provider of residential solar installations, raised $43 million; and OneRoof Energy, a developer and operator of residential solar energy generation systems, raised $30 million.

The most active investor in terms of deal numbers was New Enterprise Associates, investing in three companies. New Enterprise Associates was also the top investor in 2012 with four deals. This was followed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, PACA Investment, Firelake Capital Management, CCM US, and VisionRidge Partners all investing in two companies each.

Public market financings jumped considerably to $2.8 billion in 39 deals in 2013, up from just $893 million in 23 deals in 2012. In 2013, there also were seven IPOs that together brought in more than $1 billion.

Large-scale project funding announced in 2013 amounted to $13.6 billion in 152 deals, compared with $8.7 billion in 84 deals in 2012.  Announced large-scale project funding in Q4 2013 jumped as well, with $6 billion in 46 deals.  The largest project funding deal announced in 2013 was the $1 billion bond financing completed by Solar Star Funding for its Solar Star 1 and Solar Star 2 projects.  Top investors in large-scale projects were Kasinkornbank with 15 projects, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ with 10 projects.

Residential and commercial lease funds showed strong growth in 2013, with 22 announced funds totaling $3.34 billion, a 69 percent increase over 2012. Almost $1 billion was raised in Q4 2013 alone. Vivint Solar, SolarCity, Sunrun, SunPower, and SunEdison were top fundraisers in 2013.

The fourth quarter of 2013 was a very active quarter for large-scale project development around the globe. Mercom tracked about 220 project announcements totaling almost 9 GW in the quarter.

Corporate M&A activity in solar amounted to $12.7 billion in 81 transactions compared to $6.7 billion in 51 transactions in 2012. M&A deal activity was up 59 percent in 2013 largely driven by strategic acquisitions and acquisitions of distressed assets. The largest M&A transaction in 2013 was the $9.4 billion acquisition of Tokyo Electron by Applied Materials, followed by ABB’s acquisition of Power-One, for approximately $1 billion. Shunfeng Photovoltaic International acquired Wuxi Suntech Power, the main Chinese unit of Suntech Power Holdings, for $489 million, and Goldpoly New Energy Holdings acquired China Merchants New Energy Holdings in a non-cash transaction valued at $273 million. Dow Corning acquired Mitsubishi’s 12.5 percent stake in Hemlock Semiconductor LLC, giving it 100 percent ownership, and 12.5 percent in Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, giving it 80.5 percent ownership.

Solar project M&A amounted to $1.7 billion in 2013, compared to $1.9 billion in 2012. Activity was up 20 percent year-over-year, with 112 transactions in 2013, compared to 80 transactions in 2012. Good solar projects with sound economics are in great demand.

Announced debt funding in 2013 totaled $6.2 billion in 38 deals, compared with $6.9 billion in 34 deals in 2012, and nearly $20 billion in 41 deals in 2011. The most active provider of credit in 2013 was China Development Bank, which provided debt funding for five Chinese solar companies. Since 2010, an announced Chinese bank loan, credit facilities and framework agreements to Chinese solar companies have reached $53.6 billion. For the first time since 2010, debt raised by non-Chinese companies exceeded those raised by Chinese companies via Chinese banks.

Mercom tracked 28 solar companies that filed for insolvency or bankruptcy protection over the course of 2013. More than 60 percent of these companies were manufacturers, accounting for 18 of the 28. European companies continued to struggle with bankruptcies and insolvencies.

To learn more about the report, visit: http://store.mercom.mercomcapital.com/products-page/solar-reports/2013-solar-annual-and-q4-funding-report/

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Companies in Q4 and Annual 2013: 1366 Technologies, 8minutenergy Renewables, ABB, Abengoa, Abundance Generation, Acciona, Adiant Capital Partners, aleo solar, Algonquin Power & Utilities, Alpha Technologies, AlsoEnergy, Alstom, Alta Devices, Alterra Power, Andes Mainstream, Anel Telekom, ANERT, Apple, Applied Materials, Aramco, Archimede Solar Energy, Ascent Solar, ASM Pacific Technology, Astonfield Solar, Astronergy, Astrum Solar, Austrian Solar, Aviva Investors, Azure Surya, Balfour Beatty, Bangchak Solar Energy, Bangladesh Power Development Board, BayWa r.e., BBOXX, Beletric, Belltown Alpha Renewables, Bester Generacion, Better Energy Invest, Black Rock, Bluefield Solar Income Fund, Bosch Solar Energy, Brightergy, Brightsource Energy, British Solar Renewables, Bronzeoak Philippines, Camborne Energy, Canadian Solar, Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative, Capital Stage, Carmanah Technologies, CBD Energy, CENTROSOLAR AG, CENTROSOLAR Sonnenstromfabrik, Changzhou NESL Solartech, Changzhou, Trina Yabang Solar Energy, Chile Solar Generacion, China Merchants New Energy, China Singyes Solar Technologies, China Sunergy, China Three Gorges New Energy, China WindPower Group, Claro Energy, Clean Power Finance, Coener SpA, Collesanto, Concentrix Solar, Condor Solar, Conergy, Coronal Management, Creative Energies, Crosslux, Daiwa Lease, Dartyens Power, DCH-Solargiga, DECK Monitoring, DIF Infrastructure, DK Infracon, Dominion, Donauer Solartechnik Vertriebs, Dow Corning, Dresser-Rand, Duke Energy, Dyesol, EAM Solar, Eco Sustainable Solutions, Ecozen Solutions, EDF Renewable Energy, Edisun Heliostats, Egesa, Electrawinds, Elisolar, Enel, Energia Renovable Verano Tres, Energy Materials Corporation, Energy Team Brasil, Enertronica, Engensa, EOSOL Mexico, Ergon Solair, Erin Solar, Essel Infra project, Essel Mining & Industries, ET Solar, Etrion, Eurus Energy, Fengate Capital Management, FG Emvelo, Fiera Axium Infrastructure, First Solar, First Wind, Flagsol, FLS Energy, Focusic New Energy, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), Fonroche, Foresight, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, GCL Poly, GE Energy Financial Services, Gesto Enery, Giga Solar Materials, Gigastorage, GJR Collectibles, Global Solar Energy, GoldPoly New Energy, Good Energy, GP Joule, Gransolar, Green Lantern Capital, Green States Energy, Greenbotics, Greenbriar Capital, GSE Energy, Hadstone Energy, Half Moon Ventures, Hanau Energies, Hanergy, Hanwha Q CELLS, Hanwha SolarOne, Hareon Solar, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hefei Golden Sun Energy Technology, Hemlock Semiconductor, Hoku Materials, Honda Soltec, Huaneng Ge’ermu Photovoltaic, Huaneng Renewables Corporation, Hyperion, IAMGOLD Corporation, Ikaros Solar, ImMODO Energy, Services Corporation, Inaccess, Indiana Municipal Power Agency, Infinia Corporation, Inframan, Ingenostrum, INRG Solar, Integrated Energy Systems, Integrated Solar, Interenergia, Iosil Energy, Isolux Corsan, JA Solar, Jackson Power, JAG Energy, Japan Asia Group, JGC Corporation, JH Kelly, Jiangsu Sveck New Material, Jinko Solar, Jun Yang Solar Power Investments, juwi, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Kawa Capital Management, Kleinkraftwerk Birseck, Kraft, Kranthi Edifice, Kyocera, La Compagnie du Vent, Lark Energy, LDK Solar, Lightsource Renewable Energy, Linuo Solar, LSG Building Solutions, LSP Generation Holdings, Luxel, Luz-On, M&T Solare, Macquarie Capital, Macquarie Infrastructure Company, Marisol Energy 2, Marubeni, MBB Clean Energy, Melink Corporation, Mercury Energy, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Mirai Soden Kamikita Rokkasho Corporation, Mitsui & Co, Mitsui Fudosan, Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (MASEN), Moser Baer, Mulilo Renewable Energy, National Energy Council, NavSemi Energy, New Era Enviro Ventures, New Generation Power, NextEra Energy Resources, Nextronex, Nippon Paper Mega Solar Komatsushima, Nordwest Industrie Group, Northland Power, NovoPolymers, Obayashi Corporation, Oberon IT, OCI Solar Power, OneEnergy Renewables, OneRoof Energy, Origis Energy, Panasonic Eco Solutions,Parabel, Paramount Solar, Pattern Chile, Phoenix Solar, Photon Solar, Photosol, Platte River Power Authority, Plenium Partners, PowerModule, Power-One, Powerway Renewable Energy, Premier Solar Powertech, Premier Solar systems, Prime Solutions, Primose Solar, Progressum, Prosolia, PSEG Solar Source, PSF El Salitral, PVGE 1, PVK Engineers, Qatar Solar Technologies, Qnergy, Quercus Asset Selection, Radian Generation, Ralco Energy, Ratch, Real Goods Solar, REC Silicon, REC Solar, Recurrent Energy, Redshift Capital, Refex Energy, ReneSola, Renewable Energy Asia Group, Renewable Energy Generation, Renewable Energy Systems Canada, Risen Energy, RKS Techno Vision Engg, Rudolph/Libbe, S&C Electric, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG, Saferay, Saimeg infrastructure, Samil Power, Samsung Electronics, Samsung Renewable Energy, SB Energy, Scatec Solar, Schmid Automation Asia, Schneider Electric, Schott Solar, Sempra Energy, Sense One Technologies, Seven Green Vision, SGL Power, Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy, Sharp, Shimizu Corporation, Shunfeng Photovoltaic, Silver Ridge Power, Sky Solar, SkyFuel, Softbank, Soitec, Sojitz, Solaire Direct, Solar Flow-Through, Solar Power Company, Solar United Networks, Solar3D, Solarcentury, SolarCity, SolarCommunities, Solargiga Energy, Solaris, SolarWorld, Solcon Terrenos, Solexel, Soltage, Solutronic, Sonnedix Solar, Sonnen Systeme Italia, Sophia Antipolis Energie Développement, Sorgenia, Southern Power, Sparq Systems, SPS La Huayca, Sri Mahalakshmi Cold Storages, Starlite Global Enterprises, Strata Solar, Sulochana Agro & Infratech, Suncore, SunEdison, Sungevity, Sunny Power, Sunpartner, SunPower, Sunrun, Suntech, Sunwind Energy Group, Superior Solar Systems, Suzuki, Syndicated Solar, Teck Metals, Tecnova Renovables, Tenaska, Terrajoule, TetraSun, TEVA Alternative Energy, The Renewables Infrastructure Group, Tigo Energy, Tinmar, TMM Renewables, Tokyo Electron, Tomakomai Solar, Total, TransCanada, TRFC, Trina Solar, Tritec, TSK, Tucson Electric Power, Turner Renewable Energy,  Urban Green Technologies, USG Corporation, Uzbekenergo, Valos Solar Ventures, Viessmann Faulquemont, Vivint Solar, Volta River Authority, Wafering Technology, Welspun, Western Massachusetts Electric Company, Windfall 59 Properties, Windwarts Energie, WIRSOL Group, Wolgast Solar, Wujiaqu Jingneng New Energy, Wuxi Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy, ZenithSolar, Zep Solar, Zhejiang Solar, Zhongli Talesun, Zouk Solar Opportunities.

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