Cleantech, clean energy investments continue to drop

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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