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Solar energy back on VCs' agenda?

4 March 2015 10:55
By Tornado Staff

European VCs have never showed tremendous appetite for solar power deals. But solar companies - ranging from solar energy producers to manufacturers of materials, structures, photovoltaic devices and solar cells - became even less attractive to VC investors in recent years. The deal tally decreased from 31 in 2010 to only 12 last year.

Its early day, but this year solar deal activity seems to be picking up again with 6 reported investments. With still a few weeks left the first quarter of this year is the most active one since the last quarter of 2013 (7 deals) - although no way near the 12 deals in Q1 2011. Recently funded companies includes German downstream solar heavyweight Conergy, which secured an equity investment from RWE's energy trading house RWE Supply & Trading and existing shareholder Kawa Capital Management. Last week, UK-based provider of rooftop 'solar home systems' for the developing world, BBOXX, secured a Series B investment $3 million from Bamboo Finance and the DOEN Foundation.

Quite surprising is that Germany, the world's top PV installer with 38,359 MW by January 2015, does not top the European country ranking in terms VC deal activity. Apparently government commitment and market size does not always spur VC interest. In the period from 2010-to-present German startups secured 14% of the total number of solar power-related deals in Europe.

The pole position is for France. Notwithstanding declining political support the country's solar-energy talent reported no less than 30% of the European VC deals in the past six years. The UK took second place with 16% of the deals, while The Netherlands followed Germany and scored 9% to take fourth place.

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