Cleantech investments shrink 33 percent (Plus 9 companies to watch)

Summary:The amount of money put into the solar sector decreased sharply, with biofuels, green chemicals and electric vehicle companies picking up the slack - for a total of $6.46 billion in 2012 green technology venture capital.

Political uncertainty and an overall decline in venture capital transactions last year resulted in a big drop in the amount of funding that went toward green technology startups.

In 2012, $6.46 billion in VC went toward cleantech, spread out over 704 deals, according to The Cleantech Group. Much of the money - almost 90 percent - came in the form of late-stage rounds that went toward companies that already had some sort of track record rather than into brand-new concerns.

One notable trend was the sharp decrease in money for solar technology companies, which isn't all that surprising given the high-profile Solyndra bankruptcy, which was held up repeatedly by Congress as an example of how NOT to invest in emerging technologies. 

Biofuel and biochemical companies picked up the slack with $952 million in investments. Transportation was close behind ($927 million) followed by energy efficiency ($907 million).

For more about the trends in this year's report.

Yesterday, I followed up on some of the biggest deals that were listed in the 2011 edition of this same Cleantech status report. So it makes sense to list the 9 biggest transactions from the latest version. They appear below, in descending order based on transaction size.

Fisker Automotive ($381 million) - The luxury electric vehicle company so far has raised $1.2 billion

Sapphire Energy ($144 million) - The company is benefiting from interest in algae biofuels .

Beta Renewables ( $116 million) - The non-food cellulosic biofuels feedstock sector is poised for commercial breakthrough in 2013 and 2014.

Elevance Renewable Sciences ($104 million) - The company is creating green chemicals from plant-based oils.

IO Data Centers ($90 million) - A developer of next-generation modular data center technology. 

Protean Electric ($84 million) - A startup focused on in-wheel propulsion systems for electric vehicles. 

Blu Homes ($60 million) - A maker of energy-efficient prefabricated homes.

View ($55 million) - The green buidling startup is working on energy-efficient glass.

Coulomb Technologies ($47.5 million) - Now known as ChargePoint, the company owns the largest independent network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Topics: Emerging Tech

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.