12 mega cleantech financing coups

Cleantech Group figures there was $8.99 billion invested in solar, energy efficiency, transportation and alternate fuels in 2011. Here are a dozen of the biggest deals.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

I love reading the quarterly and annual tracking reports about cleantech investments from the Cleantech Group, because they provide a guidepost for some of the companies and industry sectors that I should follow most closely.

The research firm's year-end report for 2011 confirms my gut that energy efficiency will continue to be a big theme for the next 12 months. The sector was the second largest category of cleantech or green technology last year, accounting for $1.46 billion of the estimated $8.99 billion that Cleantech Group is reporting in venture and corporate investments. The sector also accounted for the highest number of deals, with a total of 150 funding rounds.

By the way, even though 2011 was a tough year for cleantech investments, there was still 13 percent more money given out last year than in 2010. Which companies were the biggest beneficiaries? Cleantech Group has been good enough to provide a list of the biggest transactions in the four cleantech categories that it follows (Solar, Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Biofuels & Biomaterials). Here the 12 biggest deals, in descending order of size.

  1. Fisker Automotive, the luxury electric vehicle company ($315 million)
  2. BrightSource Energy, a concentrating solar company ($201 million)
  3. Better Place, the electric vehicle charging infrastructure company ($200 million)
  4. Fulcrum Bioenergy, a waste-to-ethanol technology company ($175 million)
  5. Sundrop Fuels, a developer that uses concentrated solar thermal energy to turn biomass into gas ($175 million)
  6. OSIsoft, developer of real-time energy monitoring infrastructure ($135 million)
  7. Stion, which makes CIGS thin-film solar technology ($130 million)
  8. Miasole, another CIGS thin-film solar technology company ($106 million)
  9. Prysm, maker of large-format, low-power displays ($100 million)
  10. Soraa, a developer of gallium nitride semiconductors for lighting ($88.6 million)
  11. DriveCam, developer of transportation efficiency software ($85 million)
  12. Enerkem, maker of biofuels from biomass and municipal solid waste ($74.6 million)

Should be interesting to see how these companies fare at the end of 2012. Will try to keep a close eye on developments, to see if these investments pay off.

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