The solar sector received $2.8 billion in corporate funding globally, including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing. Activity across venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing were up 10% in Q1 2019, compared to Q1 of 2018.
The data was revealed in Mercom Capital Group’s newly released Q1 2019 Solar Funding and M&A Report.
“Funding levels were up slightly year-over-year in Q1 2019, but the solar industry was on a much stronger footing at the beginning of this year compared to a year earlier, when the industry was hit with tariffs, subsidy and installation cuts in China, and a module oversupply situation. The market is upbeat, and solar equities rebounded strongly in the first quarter. However, China is still a wild card, and depending on its 2019 policy direction, it could have a significant impact on the solar industry,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
According to the report, global VC funding for the solar sector in Q1 2019 was mostly flat, totaling $176 million in 13 deals, compared to $161 million raised in 22 deals in Q1 2018. Of the $176 million in VC funding raised in 13 deals during Q1 2019, 63 percent went to solar downstream companies, which raised nearly $111 million in seven deals. The average solar VC deal size in Q1 2019 dropped to $13.6 million from $27.9 million in Q4 2018.
The top VC deals in the first quarter of 2019 were: $65 million raised by Yellow Door Energy, $41 million raised by Oxford PV, $37 million secured by BBOXX in two funding deals, $20 million raised by Aurora Solar, and PEG Africa’s $5 million deal. A total of 28 VC investors participated in solar funding in Q1 2019.
Public market financing into the solar sector was up year-over-year (YoY) with $247 million in three deals in Q1 2019 compared to $103 million in four deals in Q1 2018.
Debt financing for solar companies was also flat with $2.35 billion in 19 deals during Q1 2019 compared to $2.25 billion in 18 deals in Q1 2018. Solar downstream companies raised the majority of the debt in Q1 2019 with $2.2 billion in 16 deals.
Announced large-scale project funding in Q1 2019 touched a record high with $5.68 billion in 43 deals compared to $2.8 billion in 47 deals during Q4 2018.
M&A activity was also similar to last year’s with 18 solar M&A transactions in Q1 2019 compared to 19 transactions in Q1 2018 the report found. Of the total 18 transactions, 14 involved Solar Downstream companies. There were two transactions apiece involving Equipment Manufacturers and Balance of System (BoS) companies.
There were 54 large-scale solar project acquisitions (20 disclosed for 5.9 GW) in Q1 2019, compared to 80 transactions (16 disclosed for 7.7 GW) in Q1 2018.
18 investment firms and funds acquired 20 projects in Q1 2019, totaling 3.5 GW, followed by fourteen Utilities and IPPs which picked up 19 projects totaling 1.15 GW. Thirteen Project Developers acquired 14 projects for 803 MW during the quarter.
New renewable energy and solar-focused funds raised a total of $3.8 billion in Q1 2019.