Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Monday, January 18, 2010

Clean tech investment report -- what's the landscape ahead?

What does the 2010 clean tech investment landscape look like?  While Copenhagen did not produce the binding agreements that many had hoped for, there is an expectation that the market will continue to strengthen for renewable and clean technologies.  Access to capital for clean tech was an issue in 2009, but the year finished strong.  Investor activity picked up in 4Q09 as stimulus grant and loan guarantee programs were crafted, and federal and state Renewable Portfolio Standards were adopted.  As 2010 starts, investors are beginning to again look at deals and expectations are that new private equity fund raising is about to begin, particularly as market conditions improve.  The U.S.and China have collectively pledged to spend more than $110 billion on clean energy.

While 2009 venture investment was down 33% from its record high of $8.5 billion in 2008, investment in cleantech declined less than other sectors.  Overall venture capital has retreated back to 2003 levels, according to the U.S. NVCA, but cleantech venture capital has been reset only to 2007 levels.

"Cleantech venture investment was buoyed by increasing corporate and utility investment, amid the financial crunch and economic crisis," according to the just released report by The Cleantech Group. "Wind energy, which was the sector most heavily invested in by U.S. utilities in 2008, continued to be a significant investment sector for utilities in 2009, trailed by investments in solar thermal and PV. In addition to utilities, among Fortune Global 500 companies, energy and consumer and industrial products companies made significant investments in the cleantech sector."

Top Venture Capital Clean Technology Sectors in 2009
Technology Sector Amount Invested % of total
Solar $1.2 billion 21%
Transportation (including electric vehicles, advanced batteries, fuel cells) $1.1 billion 20%
Energy Efficiency $1.0 billion 18%
Biofuels $554 million 10%
Smart Grid $414 million 7%
Water $117 million 2%

Where were the big deals?  What country led?  What are the companies to watch?
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