The Rebound Begins: Cleantech Gets More Cash in Q2

Cleantech investment is on the rise again, according to two reports released this week, hitting $1.2 billion in the second quarter. “Cleantech venture investment has rebounded moderately after free-falling for two consecutive quarters,” said Brian Fan, senior director of research for the Cleantech Group, in a press release. Other signs of recovery include more mergers and acquisitions, as well as increased solar tax equity, he said.

The Cleantech Group, which tracks deals in North America, Europe, China and India, said Wednesday that cash was distributed among more companies, too: 94 compared with 82 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Greentech Media put the number of deals in the second quarter at 85 vs. 59 in the first.

Even though the two groups reached the same funding total, they appear to have tracked different deals, because they offer divergent views of how the money was dispersed. Greentech Media listed solar as the most capitalized sector in the second quarter, raising more than $333.4 million, while the Cleantech Group said solar investments fell to their lowest level in three years, totaling only $114 million. Greentech Media also reported that the average size of the rounds fell slightly, while the Cleantech Group said the average round sizes grew.

But the similarities in the reports also shed light on areas of investment in cleantech trends in the second quarter. Aside from agreeing that cleantech venture capital grew, both groups listed transportation technologies, including vehicles, biofuels and batteries, as among the top investment categories in the second quarter.

The Cleantech Group said that transportation, boosted by stimulus funding and increased attention on the automotive industry, raised the most cash – with $236 million for vehicles, $206 million for biofuels and $165 million for advanced batteries. Greentech Media put transportation deals in second place at more than $202.5 million and clumped biofuels, gasification and cleaner coal together in third place, with a total of more than $195 million. The energy-storage category, including batteries and fuel cells, came in fourth with $181.5 million.