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Summary:

Global investments in clean energy projects, like solar and wind farms, as well as funding for cleantech companies, dropped significantly in 2012, compared to the same time in 2011.

Cost Estimates of T. Boone's Colossal Wind Farm Keep Rising

The amount of funding going into cleantech startups and clean power projects continues to drop. According to reports from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and The Cleantech Group, this week, investors worldwide put significantly less money into both cleantech companies and clean energy projects, like solar and wind farms, in the third quarter of 2012.

Bloomberg NEF reports that investors worldwide put $56.6 billion into clean energy projects and companies in the third quarter of 2012. That funding — which includes asset financing for utility-scale clean power, government funding, corporate funding, and venture capital funding — was 20 percent lower than the amount invested in the third quarter of 2011. In particular, asset financing for utility-scale clean power projects fell 10 percent below the levels of 2011.

Aerial view of Apple’s solar farm

Bloomberg NEF says because of this drop in Q3 2012 funding, investment figures for the full-year 2012 will be lower than in 2011. The report says 2012 could “be the first down-year for world investment in the sector for at least eight years.”

The Cleantech Group also reported that venture capital funding for cleantech startups hit $1.56 billion in the third quarter of 2012, which was down 30 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011 ($2.23 billion). And following a trend that’s been going on for that past year or so, 92 percent ($1.43 billion) of the money invested during the quarter went into Series B rounds or later.

Basically venture capitalists are moving away from investing in new early-stage cleantech startups. The cleantech startups that received the largest rounds in the third quarter of 2012 include matured companies like Fisker Automotive, EcoMotors, GridPoint, Viridity Energy and Alarm.com. Part of the reason for that funding trend is a “lack of strong IPO exits,” says Cleantech Group’s CEO Sheeraz Haji in the release.

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  1. If we are going to cut subsidies, which I am a fan of and not just for tech, we need to take ALL roadblocks for entry into a given market. Oil, Farming, and Internet are all excellent examples of stupid roadblocks to keep incumbents in power. Lets have a bit of a free for all so we can see what technologies rise to the top. However green subsidies have been cheap historically so its a no brainer that we should at the very least keep those.

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  2. Stephen Malagodi Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Hey Mr. President. How’s that “All of the Above” policy working out for us?

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  3. Seems like hoping for big government subsidies or funding is futile. Unfortunately, the current state of solar technology is too new to go up fairly against its mature competitors coal, oil, gas, nuclear. It needs more time and improvement like those other industries got for 50-100 years. Forcing it to limp along now in head-to-head competition will stretch out the time before solar can take its eventual rightful place in our energy mix.

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