SAN FRANCISCO- Investments in cleantech, particularly solar, rose by 13 percent over last year’s numbers to $2.57 billion in the first quarter 2011. That’s a trend continuing into the second quarter, if the number of cleantech financings we report is any guide. The first quarter numbers represent the most money invested in cleantech since the third quarter in 2008.
So says a report from San Francisco-based Cleantech Group, a consulting company.
Although the amount invested in cleantech was larger, it went to fewer firms, so venture capitalists are doing fewer but larger deals.
In a conference call, Sheeraz Haji, CEO of the Cleantech Group, said the sector is setting a pace to raise more money this year than at any time since it began tracking the investments in 2002. He said succuessful IPOs by cleantech firms such ast Telsa Motors helps.
Brightsource Energy Inc., which develops solar fields, was the largest single recipient of the $641 million that went to solar firms during the quarter. BrightSource may go for an IPO later this year.
Electric vehicle firms took the next largest slice of the pie: $311 million.
The most active investors in the space were: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla Ventures, Vantage Point Venture Partners, and the Google and GE venture capital arms.
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