Q2 Greentech VC Funding: Solar, Corporations & Chinese IPOs

Greentech startups raising money in the second quarter of this year can thank a few things for the solid quarter of venture financing: corporations, the generally weak IPO market (Tesla (s TSLA) was the exception), and the solar industry. According to numbers out today from the Cleantech Group, global VC investments into greentech startups in the second quarter of 2010 totaled $2.02 billion across 140 companies, up 43 percent from the same period a year ago.

Combined with the first quarter of 201o, this quarter’s numbers actually delivered a record first half of the year in terms of greentech VC investing. Coming in at $4.04 billion, the first half of 2010 for greentech VC investing was up 65 percent over the first half of 2009, and slightly beat the first half of 2008, which was the previous highest on record.

One of the major reasons for this boost was corporate investing. The quarter’s top ten deals included Intel (s INTC) Capital, GE (s GE) Capital, oil giant Shell, French power company Alstom and Cargill Ventures. The Cleantech Group says corporations are finally seeing the business case for energy efficiency technology and carbon emissions reductions.

Another hot driver was solar. Solar startups brought in $811 million in 26 deals, including funding for Solyndra, BrightSource and Amonix. Utilities are also picking up their investments into solar financing deals, and PG&E (s PCG) launched a $100 million tax equity vehicle with SunRun last month.

It was partly the weak IPO market that caused more venture investing, too. Instead of going through with its IPO, Solyndra opted to raise $175 million from current investors. Wind turbine maker Goldwind also shelved its IPO plans. Overall there were 19 cleantech IPOs during the quarter, raising $2.31 billion.

Tesla was by far the exception in terms of big greentech IPOs, and according to the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters, Tesla’s $226 million IPO this week was the largest venture-backed IPO of the quarter across sectors. China accounted for the majority of greentech IPOs, with 12 offerings.

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