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21 April 2008


Solar VC investment reaches record $280m in Q1

Venture capital investment in renewable energy reached an unprecedented level of more than $1bn in Q1/2008, according to Greentech Media’s Venture Power Report.  Investment in solar power led, with more than $280m invested in 15 VC financing rounds. New entrepreneurial efforts in LEDs and other lighting technologies also attracted investment.

“VC investment in renewable energy in Q1 is on pace to better last year’s record numbers,” says senior analyst Eric Wesoff. “Investors are optimistic and bullish on energy in the face of global climate and economic issues. They are investing across the energy spectrum in power generation, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, and smart grid/demand response technologies,” he adds. “Investors are looking for 2008-2010 to be the years of renewable energy exits.”

Notable VC funding rounds in Q1 included Luminus Devices’ $72m Round E (as it expands applications for its PhlatLight LED technology from TV and display markets to solid-state lighting) and Suniva's $50m Round B (for high-efficiency thin-film silicon photovoltaic cells).

“We see these investment numbers staying steady through 2009 as investors continue to nurture their current portfolios and look for new opportunities,” says Wesoff.

Energy efficiency has finally come into its’ own as an investment sector with dedicated energy investors and generalist VCs focused on consumer and industrial energy efficiency, the report concludes. Although thin-film solar is not receiving the same magnitude of investment as it did in 2006 and 2007, solar investment is still hot, it adds.

See related item:

Luminus closes $72m VC round

Search: Luminus LEDs Photovoltaic