Cleantech Group LLC, a San Francisco based consulting firm, has reported that venture capitalists have invested 2.57 billion dollars world-wide in the first quarter in the green technology sector, an increase of 31% from the first quarter of last year and a 52% increase from previous quarter. This is the highest investment in this sector since 2008, and Cleantech Group is estimating that this sector will have a record year overall in terms of funding.
Rising oil prices are making a significant impact on the amount of investments into clean energy and green technology. Investors are gaining confidence in the US market, although investments have dropped significantly in the UK, down to only nine secured deals this year.
Most of the 2.57 billion was invested into solar technology, drawing a total of $641 million in capital. A majority of those funds went to BrightSource Energy INC, a developer of solar energy fields. Behind solar energy, companies that focused on developing electric vehicles came in second with $311 million, with $150 million of that drawn by Fisker Automotive, an automotive company that specializes in designing and creating luxury plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Investors are beginning to lean more towards fewer but bigger later-stage deals in reputable companies, rather than making small investments in start-up companies. In turn, these investments are allowing established green technology companies to expand and move ahead in large-scale productions. Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar, notes that venture firms are still exploring what will work and what won’t in green technology. The numbers indicate a recognition among investors that green technology is staying and growing.
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