U.S. venture capital investments in greentech totaled $3.7 billion in 2010, according to the MoneyTree Report based on data from Thomson Reuters. The global number was $7.8 billion, according to the Cleantech Group although that group's numbers tend to run high due to a liberal definition of cleantech. Having tracked those numbers myself for many years, I have learned not to interpret strong VC numbers as a proxy for a healthy greentech industry.
In any case, if the first month of this year is any indication, and it most likely is not, the greentech VC train is picking up steam. I've listed almost $1 billion worth of green VC deals in the month of January and broken it down into two parts. Today's list covers solar, energy storage and transportation. The next list will appear later this week and cover the balance of the greentech sector.
VC Investments in Solar Technology and PV Project Financing
Sulfurcell (Berlin, Germany) a developer of CIGS/CIGSe thin-film solar modules, raised $25 million in a round led by Intel Capital with London-based Climate Change Capital Private Equity, Copenhagen-based Bankinvest Group, London-based Zouk Ventures, and New York-based Masdar Clean Tech Investments. Paris-based Demeter also participated, as did Vattenfall Europe, GdF Suez and Ventegis Capital. This is in addition to the $135 million the firm received in 2008.
Lincoln Renewable Energy (Chicago, Illinois), a utility solar project developer, won $14 million in venture capital funding from Austin Ventures.
HelioVolt (Austin, Texas) raised another $8.5M, according to a filing with the SEC. The company raised $31.5 million in June of 2010, an $8 million Round A in 2005 and $101 million in 2007 for their CIGS solar effort.
Verengo Solar Plus (Orange, Calif.) raised $9.7 million from Angeleno Group for Verengo's solar installation business.
Kiran Energy (Mumbai, India) received $30 million from New Silk Route, Bessemer Ventures and Argonaut Ventures for India-based solar project financing. The firm has already signed two PPAs, a 20-megawatt PPA with GUVNL, a state-run power generation company, and a 5-megawatt PPA under the National Solar Mission project.
Solar Universe (Livermore, Calif.) using a franchise model to provide residential and small business solar installations, raised $7 million in a Round B led by RockPort Capital. The firm has built a network of 21 solar franchisees in six states.
Sungevity (Oakland, Calif.) a residential solar installation startup, received a $2 million line of credit from Bridge Bank. The debt line follows a $15 million Round C that closed in December from Greener Capital, Firelake Capital, and Brightpath Capital.
Solar Power Technologies (Austin, Texas) received $6.1 million from Austin Ventures, et al. The startup develops equipment that controls, monitors and optimizes the power output of large solar power farms.
SoloPower, (San Jose, Calif.) a developer of a roll-to-roll process for making flexible CIGS PV modules, raised $51.6 million from Crosslink Capital, Hudson Clean Energy Partners, and Convexa, according to an SEC filing. The firm raised $230 million in 2008.
Solarlite (Duckwitz, Germany) raised $6.1 million from BonVenture Management, Sirius EcoTech, et al. for decentralized solar thermal parabolic trough plants for CHP in sizes ranging from 500 kilowatts to 30 megawatts.
1366 Technologies (Lexington, Mass.) added another $2.4 million to its now $28.4 million Round B from North Bridge Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Hanwha Chemical, and Ventizz Capital Fund IV. The startup is developing technology for lower-cost c-Si.
Magpower (Portugal), a high-concentration PV system developer, raised $9.5 million from Banco Espírito Santo.
Beneq (Finland) won $12.2 million from Finnish Industry Investment and Via Venture Partners for nano-scale thin-film coatings used in solar cells and glass coatings.
EnviroMission (ASX: EVM; Pink Sheets: EVOMY) secured $29.8 million in debt and equity from AGS Capital Group for their solar updraft tower concept.
First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) acquired RayTracker, a VC-funded manufacturer of utility-grade single-axis trackers. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. RayTracker is backed by Idealab, The Quercus Trust and Phoenix Fire.
VC Investment in Energy Storage, Fuel Cells, Batteries
Silent Power (Baxter, Minn.), a distributed energy storage systems firm, won $2M in a Round A from Hunt Technologies’ founder Paul Hunt, Wright-Hennepin Holding Company, et al. The firm looks to provide turnkey storage products by integrating renewable energy and EV charging systems.
Envia Systems (Newark, Calif.), manufacturer of a high-capacity cathode for lithium-ion batteries, raised $17 million from General Motors, Asahi Glass, Asahi Kahei, et al.
Bloom Energy raised $100M from Kleiner Perkins, NEA, and Morgan Stanley, according to Dow Jones VentureWire, for their solid oxide fuel cell.
VC Investment in Green Transportation, Engines, and Electric Vehicles
LiquidPiston (Hartford, Conn), developing an efficient, compact internal combustion engine, added $5 million in a Round B from Northwater Capital, Adams Capital Management, et al. The firm's focus is on the under-50-horsepower engine market, including portable generators.
ECOtality (San Francisco, Calif.), a developer of EV charging infrastructure, raised $10 million from ABB Group.
CODA Holdings (Santa Monica, Calif.), a maker of lithium-ion battery systems and all-electric cars, raised a $76 million Round D from Harbinger Capital Partners, Riverstone Holdings, Aeris Capital and Angeleno Group. The firm has raised more than $200 million in VC funding, plus a $294 million line of credit from the Bank of Tianjin Joint-Stock.
XL Hybrids (Somerville, Mass.), a startup that converts commercial fleet vehicles into hybrids, raised an additional $2 million from undisclosed investors. The firm has raised $3.8 million to date from the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund and angel investors.
Agility Fuel Systems (Brentwood, Tennessee) raised an undisclosed amount from Element Partners. Agility is formed from the merger of FAB Industries and Environmech Industries, providers of fuel systems for heavy duty trucks, buses and specialty vehicles.
Part two, online later this week, will cover January investments in smart grid, biofuels, wind, water and everything else.