Solar Sector Corporate Funding Increased 41% in 2017

Credit: Biel Morro


Total global corporate funding for the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC, PE), debt financing and public market financing came to $12.8 billion, a 41% increase compared to the $9.1 billion raised in 2016.

The figures, released by Mercom Capital Group, show that global venture capital invesmentes came to $1.6 billion through 99 deals last year, representing an increase of 30% from the $1.3 billion raised through 78 deals in 2016.

“A strong fourth quarter pushed overall funding higher in 2017. Higher installation levels around the world, the lack of threat to the solar investment tax credit, lower than expected tariff recommendation by U.S. ITC, strong debt financing activity, and over a billion dollars in securitization deals helped the solar industry have a much better year in terms of financial activity compared to 2016. After several challenging years, most of the solar securities were up in 2017 reflecting overall positive sentiments around the solar industry even as several Chinese manufacturers decided to go private. Of course, all this could change swiftly if President Trump decides to impose higher tariffs in the trade case,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.

Top Solar VC/PE Funded Companies, 2017

Source: Mercom

Solar downstream companies accounted for $1.4B in 2017. Thin-film companies raised $106 million (M), service providers raised $47M, PV technology companies raised $40M, Balance of Systems (BoS) companies raised $36M, concentrated solar power companies raised $8M and concentrator photovoltaics companies received $6M.

The top VC/PE deals reported in 2017 were all over $100 million. Five of the top six VC funding deals came from India. In 2017, 162 VC/PE investors participated in funding rounds eight with multiple rounds: Engie, Avista Development, DSM Venturing, InnoEnergy, Innogy, International Finance Corporation, Shell, and Techstars.

Public market financing in 2017 reached $1.7 billion in 33 deals. Three IPOs were logged in 2017 for $363 million: Canadian Solar Infrastructure Fund, New Energy Solar Fund, and Clergy. Debt financing totaled $9.5 billion in 2017. There were six securitization deals in 2017 totaling $1.3 billion. For the first time, securitization deals surpassed $1 billion.

Announced large-scale project funding in 2017 reached $14 billion in 167 deals, compared to $9.4 billion in 133 deals during 2016. A total of 161 investors funded about 20.5 GW of large-scale solar projects in 2017 compared to 5.9 GW funded by 153 investors in 2016. The top investors in large-scale projects included Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), Santander, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Siemens Financial Services.

$2.4 billion was raised by 16 residential and commercial solar project funds in 2017, compared to $4.9 billion by 30 funds in 2016. Since 2009, solar residential and commercial funds raised more than $24.8 billion.

There were 71 corporate M&A transactions in 2017, solar downstream companies accounted for 51. The largest was the $1.6 billion acquisition of FTP Power (sPower). There were a record 228 large-scale solar project acquisitions in 2017 for more than 20.4 GW.

Mercom tracked 922 large-scale project announcements world-wide totaling 50.1 GW in 2017.


Vendors mentioned in this article:

  • Mercom Capital Group
  • Lightsource Renewable Energy
  • ReNew Power
  • Greenko Energy Holdings
  • Hero Future Energies
  • CleanMax
  • Canadian Solar Infrastructure Fund
  • New Energy Solar Fund
  • Clenergy
  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)
  • Santander
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Siemens Financial Services


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