Solar Sector Sees Strong Q1 with $7 Billion in Total Corporate Funding Reports Mercom Capital Group

Solid quarter for M&A, project funding, project M&A, and third-party funds

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report today on first quarter funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity for the solar sector in 2014.

Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), debt financing, and other equity financings raised by public companies, came in at $7 billion, compared to $5 billion in Q4 2013.

Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, commented, “It was a robust quarter for solar as financing activity surged in almost all areas. The big story continues to be strong capital markets. VC funding was up with several funding deals involving investment “platforms,” while third-party residential/commercial funds continue to raise record amounts.”

VC

Global VC funding, PE and corporate VC in Q1 2014 totaled $251 million in 26 deals, up from $87 million in 24 deals in Q4 2013, mostly due to one large deal. Solar downstream companies attracted most of the VC funding this quarter, with $182 million in 13 deals.

The largest VC/PE deal in Q1 2014 was the $125 million raised in a Series C round by Renewable Energy Trust Capital, a finance platform established to acquire and own solar projects and provider of a single comprehensive equity capital source. Investors included BlueMountain Capital Management, and Global Cleantech Capital. SolarBridge Technologies, a provider of microinverters and monitoring technology for solar systems, raised $42 million. Investors included Constellation Technology Ventures, Shea Ventures, Rho Ventures, and Prelude Ventures. Other Top 5 deals included the $18 million raised by solar project developer FLS Energy, followed by the for-profit social enterprise d.light, which manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products, raising $11 million. Off-Grid Electric, a Tanzania-based company providing solar energy in Africa using a prepaid model, raised $7 million.

Project Funding

There were 43 large-scale project funding deals totaling $3.6 billion announced in Q1 2014. The Top 5 large-scale project funding deals in Q1 2014 included the $942 million loan to China WindPower Group for a range of Chinese PV projects with a combined capacity of 800 MW, Sempra Energy’s $428 million raise for the development of the 250 MW Copper Mountain Solar 3 Project in Nevada, the $305 million raise by SoftBank and Mitsui for the 111 MW Tomatoh Abira Solar Project in Japan, the $250 million raise by Abengoa/Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy for the 110 MW Ashalim Thermo Solar Project in Israel, and the $250 million raised by Japan Solar/Nippon Renewable Energy to develop Japanese solar projects totaling 157.5 MW.

Third-party/Lease Funds

Mercom also noted the continued upward trend in third-party residential and commercial solar lease fundraising in Q1 2014, tracking more than $1 billion raised. OneRoof Energy, a solar installer and third-party finance firm went public in Q1 2014 via a reverse merger on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Corporate M&A

Corporate solar M&A activity surged to a record 38 transactions in Q1 2014, up from 25 transactions in Q4 2013.  Solar downstream companies were involved in the most number of M&A transactions with 22. “M&A activity was strong among installers, developers, and distributors, while third-party finance firms were actively making acquisitions as they vertically integrate their businesses,” continued Prabhu.

The largest disclosed M&A transaction by dollar amount was the $416 million acquisition by Danfoss of a 20 percent stake in SMA Solar Technology. As part of the deal, SMA acquired Danfoss’ inverter business. This was followed by the $186 million acquisition of a 68 percent stake in Same Time by GCL-Poly Energy. China Electric Equipment Group acquired China Sunergy (Shanghai) for $37.7 million. Solvay America acquired Plextronics (formerly Polytronics), a company specializing in printed solar (OPV inks), lighting and other electronics, for $32.6 million. Rounding out the Top 5 was the Advanced Energy Industries acquisition of the power control module assets of AEG Power Solutions Germany, for $31.5 million.

Project Acquisitions

It was also a record quarter for project acquisitions in Q1 2014, totaling $1.5 billion in 42 transactions, with more than 1.7 GW in solar projects changing hands. The top disclosed project acquisition by dollar amount was Goldpoly New Energy’s (now United Photovoltaics Group) acquisition of 400 MW of projects in China from vertically-integrated solar manufacturer GD Solar for $661 million. This was followed by the sale of a 179.5 MW Chinese PV project by Zhongli Science and Technology to an undisclosed investor for $295 million. Solar and wind project operator Capital Stage acquired 40 MW of PV projects in France from investment company Aquila Capital for $193 million. The Renewables Infrastructure Group acquired two projects totaling 30.5 MW from a group of private developers for $61 million, and TransCanada acquired a 10 MW Canadian Solar project in Ontario for $57.2 million.

Mercom also tracked 170 large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q1 2014 representing almost 7 GW.

To learn more about the report, visit:  http://store.mercom.mercomcapital.com/products-page/solar-reports/solar-q1-2014-funding-ma-report/

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Companies in Q1 2014:

4G Identity Solutions, 8minutenergy Renewables, Abengoa, ABM Industries, Acme Power, Advanced Energy Industries, AEE Renewables, AEG Power Solutions, AGR, aleo solar, Altus Energy, Amarenco Solar, Ameren Missouri, Andes Mainstream, Anesco, Aquila Capital, Ascent Solar Technologies, AVIC International, Azure Power, Backbone Enterprises , Bad Endbach, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners, Bangladesh Power Development Board, BELECTRIC, Belvesol Solar, Bhadresh Trading, BlackRock, Blue Energy, BluEarth Renewables, Bluefield Solar Income Fund, BlueWave Capital, BNRG Northern Power, BNRG Renewables, Boeing, Brilliant Harvest, British Solar Renewables, Bronzeoak Philippines, Buheung Solar, Canadian Solar, Capital Stage, Carlaw Capital IV, CEE, Cenergy Power, Central Solar Desierto, CENTROSOLAR, Changers, Chevron Energy Solutions, China Electric Equipment Group, China Sunergy , China Triumph International Engineering Company, China WindPower, Chow Steel Industries, CHUDENKO Corporation, Clean Focus Corporation, Cobra, Coener Renovables, Columbus Photovoltaics, Common Assets, Community Energy, Complete Solar Solution, Conergy, Conergy Espana, Contour Global, d.light, Daiwa House Industry, Danfoss, Direct Energie, DNVGL, Donauer Solartechnik, DS Steel, Duke Energy, EAM Solar, E-CL, Eco Energy World, Edisun Power Europe, EDP Renewables, Elkem Solar, Empower Energies, Emsur, Encap Solar AZ 2, Eneco, Enel Green Power, Eneres, Energia Basica, Energiebau, Energize, Energy Time, Enersan Power, Enertec, EnviroMission, EPG Solar, Equal Earth, Esco NRG, ET Solar, Etrion Corporation, Europe Solar Holding, Europe Solar Production, Finnsurya Energy, Eurus Energy,  First Solar, First Wind Solar Group, FLS Energy, Focal Energy Holdings, Focal Energy Solar, Fonroche Energie, Foresight Solar Fund, ForVEI, Fuji Electric, FWAVE Company, Gamma Solutions, GCL-Poly Energy, GD Solar, GDF Suez, GE, Gestamp Solar, Gestimm, Giga Solar Materials, Gigawatt Global, Goldpoly New Energy, Grace, Gransolar, Green Energy Development Corporation Of Odisha, Grid Essence, Grupo Clavijo, Gujarat Power Corporation, Gujarat State Electricity Corporation, Guodian Chahaeryouyiqianqi Solar, Guodian Wulatehouqi Solar, Hanergy, Hanwha Q CELLS, Hanwha SolarOne, Hareon Solar, HelioVolt, Hero Solar Energy, Higashinozaki Solar Energy, Himgiri Energy Ventures, Hindustan Cleanenergy, Huadian Fuxin Energy Corporation, Huawei Technologies, Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power, Hubei Hongyuan PV Science and Technology, IBC SOLAR, Ikaros Solar, IL&FS Energy Development Company, Inca de Varas, Inesa Solar, Infigen Energy, Infinity Construction Services, Innovatec, Inter Far East Engineering, Intermountain Electric, Invenergy Solar Development, J.P. Solar Power Company , Japan Energy Construction, Japan Solar, JFE Engineering, Jiangsu Akcome Solar Science & Technology, JinkoSolar, Jinzhou Wintek Silicon Materials, John Laing, Juhl Energy, juwi, Kandenko, Karnataka Power Corporation, Komax Jinchen, Kroma Comercializadora de Energia, Kumamoto Arao Solar Park Corporation, Laxmi Diamond, LDK Solar, Lightsource Renewable Energy, Low Carbon, Lukoil Energy&Gas Romania, Martifer Solar, Martin Solar Energy, Masdar Power, Medha Energy, Mercatus, Mere Power Nzema, Mere Power UK, Meyer Burger Technology, MiaSole Hi-Tech, Milk the Sun, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui, M-KOPA Solar, Mounting Systems, MPO Energy, Mulk OGI, Murata Manufacturing, Nagasaki Tadewara Solar, National Renewable Energy Corporation, Nautilus Solar Energy, Neoen, Newport Renewables, Next Generation Power Technology, Nippon Renewable Energy, Nordwest Industrie Group, Norfund, Northfield UK Solar, Northleaf Capital Partners, Nova Feina, NRG Energy, Obton, OCI Materials, OCI Solar Power, Off Grid Electric, Omuta Miikekoh Solar Park Corporation, Onahama Izumi Solar, OneRoof Energy, Origis Energy, ORIX Corporation, Ormat Nevada, Panel Claw, Persimmon Technologies, Platinum, Plextronics, PosiGen Solar Solutions, Prinz Karl Thurn und Taxis Management, Solbus, ProtekPark Solar, PsomasFMG, Push Energy, PV Evolution Labs, PV Power, Qi Power, Ranji Solar Energy, RBI Solar, RDA Energy, REC Solar, Recurrent Energy, Redlen Technologies, Regenesis, ReneSola, Renew Power, Renewable Energy Trust Capital, Renewable Funding, Renova, Renovalia Chil, RGS Energy, Rishabh Buildwell, Roof Diagnostics Solar, S.A.G. Solarstrom, Saft , Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Deutschland, Same Time, SC Natural Energy Prod, Scatec Solar, SCP Solar, SEI L'Volta, SEI Sitara, SEI Suncells, SEI Suryalabh, Sempra Energy, Serm Sang Solar Corporation, Sharda Construction & Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy, Shunfeng Photovoltaic International, Silverado Power, Silvercreek Solar, Siva Power, SMA Solar Technology, SoftBank, Soitec, Solairedirect Energy, Solais, Solar Junction Corporation, Solar Mosaic, SolarBridge Technologies, Solarcentury, SolarCity, Solargiga Energy, Solaria, SolarReserve, Solatio Energia, Solbus, Solect Energy, Solectria Renewables of Lawrence, Soligent, Solmetric, SOLON Group, SoloPower Systems, Soltage-Greenwood, Solutronic, Solvay America, Sorgenia, Soventix, SOWITEC, Stea Divisione Energia Solare, Strata Solar, SUN & LIFE, SunConnex, SunEdison, Sunetric, Sunible, Sunil Hitech Engineers, SunPower, Sunrun, Sunseap Leasing, Suntech Power, SunWize Technologies, SUSI Sustainable, Sustainable Power Group, Swelect Energy Systems, Swinerton, Swiss Solar Invest, Sybac Solar Baden, Symbior Elements, Taqa Arabia, TAQNIA, tenKsolar, TerniEnergia, TGC Renewables, The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), The Renewables Infrastructure Group, The Vertex Cos, Tigo Energy, Tirreno Power, Today Homes and Infrastructure, Tokyo Electron, Topoint, Tozzi Sud, TransCanada, Trina Solar, Trony Solar Holdings, UBS Clean Energy Infrastructure Switzerland, Ujaas Energy, United Photovoltaics, Upower, Utech Solar Corporation, Valleland, Vishwaj Energy, Vitriflex, Vivint Solar, vogt solar, Waaree Energies, Welborne Solar, Welspun Energy, WeShareSolar, WHEB Infrastructure, Wircon, Wirsol Group, Yingkou Jinchen, Yondenko, Zhenfa New Science and Technology.

 
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