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Summary:

Is 2010 the year of the greentech IPO? Well, a whopping 19 green companies have announced IPOs since September, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and none of those have sold shares yet.

Is 2010 the year of the greentech IPO? Well, a whopping 19 green companies have announced IPOs since September, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and none of those have sold shares yet. And that’s just the companies that have announced that they’ll IPO — not including companies that are widely thought to file and go public this year (like Silver Spring Networks.) In total, greentech companies plan to raise $9.6 billion worldwide in 2010, “more than triple the total value of IPOs for the industry in 2009,” reports Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Green IPOs were already up slightly last year over 2008, according to the Cleantech Group. That was thanks to lithium-ion battery maker A123Systems’ (a AONE) $371 million IPO in late September (the largest IPO in the U.S. last year) and the massive $2.23 billion IPO of China Longyuan Electric Power Group in the fourth quarter of 2009. But up until A123Systems’ public debut, green IPOs (and most IPOs) were relatively stalled last year.

However, the post-A123Systems boost seems like it already occurred in the fourth quarter of 2009, when there were already 18 green IPOs, totaling $2.9 billion. And the first quarter of 2010 saw a drop in green IPOs to 13, totaling $1.5 billion — China accounted for the majority of transactions, with eight offerings. As the Cleantech Group put it:

[T]he number of high profile companies registering to go public in the U.S. in late 2009 and early 2010 failed to translate into the volume of IPOs that many predicted, with only three North American cleantech IPOs in 1Q 2010.

But the green IPO bonanza that Bloomberg is expecting will specifically be targeted at renewables. The report says 12 of the 19 companies that have announced they will IPO are wind and solar firms. In particular Italian utility Enel SpA plans to sell a minority stake of its renewable energy unit Enel Green Power for $5.4 billion by the end of 2010, Chinese wind turbine maker Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. plans to raise $1.5 billion in Hong Kong, British solar energy producer Engyco is looking for $1.4 billion, and Spanish Renovalia Energy SA could be looking for $300 million.

When you compare these international clean power producers to some of the startups looking to go public in the U.S. in 2010, it provides quite a contrast. The financials of some of the candidates like electric car maker Tesla, bicycle tech developer Fallbrook Technologies, and biocatalyst developer Codexis, aren’t exactly strong. That’s one of the reasons why investors like Vinod Khosla have publicly worried that too many companies will IPO “under the green banner,” this year and “set up expectations,” and “miss them.”

More research on greentech financing see GigaOM Pro:

Cleantech Financing Trends: 2010 and Beyond

Image courtesy of jtyerse’s photostream Flickr Creative Commons.

By Katie Fehrenbacher

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