AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Apr 9, 2013) -  Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity for the solar sector during the first quarter of 2013.

The slump in global venture capital (VC) investments, which started in Q3 2012, continued, dipping to $126M (million) in 26 deals in Q1 2013 compared to $220M in 27 deals in the previous quarter. This is the second lowest quarter for VC funding since 2008. In total, downstream companies, mostly solar lease companies, raised $75M in eight deals, followed by thin film with $25M in six deals. Solar VC Funding Chart:

"Downstream companies received the most VC funding of all categories this quarter," commented Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. "After being burned by solar technology investments, especially thin film, we are finally seeing VC investments shift away from technologies and towards downstream/lease companies that are benefitting from record low panel prices."

The top VC funding deals in Q1 2013 included $30M raised by OneRoof Energy from Hanwha; $28M raised by Sungevity from Brightpath Capital Partners, Lowe's, Vision Ridge Partners, Craton Equity Partners, and Eastern Sun Capital Partners; $12.8M raised by eSolar, a CSP company; $11M raised by crystalsol, a flexible thin film developer from Conor Venture Partners, Arax Capital Partners, and Energy Future Invest; $7M raised by Goal Zero, a provider of portable solar power systems, and $7M raised by PsomasFMG, a solar system provider. Solar Top 5 Chart:

Third party finance/solar lease firms raised about half a billion dollars in residential and commercial project funds in the first quarter with three deals of $100M each. SunPower announced a $100M financing program with U.S. Bancorp, while Bosch Solar Energy established a $100M fund with its subsidiary aleo solar and OneRoof Energy announced a $100M investment for residential solar projects with debt financing by National Bank of Arizona.

M&A activity in the first quarter amounted to $306M in 15 transactions. The largest disclosed M&A transaction by dollar amount in Q1 was cell manufacturer Goldpoly New Energy Holdings' acquisition of power plant developer China Merchants New Energy Holdings in a non-cash transaction valued at $273M.

Other transactions included Travis Perkins, a supplier to building and construction markets, who acquired PV distributer Solfex for $12.5M, while silicon ingot and wafer manufacturer Shunfeng Materials sold a 45.45 percent stake to Shunfeng Photovoltaic for $12M. Proton Power Systems, a developer of hydrogen fuel cells and electric hybrid systems, acquired solar energy storage company SPower Holding for $6.7M. Cencorp Corporation, a provider of industrial automation solutions, purchased PV module manufacturer Sunweb Solar for approximately $1.3M.

Click here for a copy of the full press release

To learn more about the report, click here.

About Mercom Capital Group
Mercom Capital Group, llc is a global communications and consulting firm focused on cleantech and financial communications. Mercom delivers market intelligence reports covering Solar, Wind and Smart Grid. Mercom's consulting division advises companies on strategies for strategic decision making and new market entry and provides custom market research. Mercom's communications division helps companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, government decision-makers, local communities and strategic partners. About Mercom: Mercom's clean energy reports:

Contact Information:

Wendy Prabhu
Mercom Capital Group, llc
Austin, Texas