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Solar sector attracts $4.3 billion funding in April-June

According to reports, the solar sector attracted total funding of over Rs 24,000 crore through 66 deals, including two Indian transactions — Reliance Power and Azure Power –, in April-June this year, says a report.

According to the Mercom Capital Group’s second quarter funding and M&A activity report for solar sector, global venture capital funding saw a slight uptick with 32 deals amounting to USD 376 million, even in tough solar market.

The report analysed funding on the basis of four categories: project funding, VC funding, debt funding and others.

Two Indian deals — Reliance Power securing a USD 103 million loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Azure Power securing USD 70.4 million in long-term financing from the Export Import Bank of the US — were listed in the project funding category.

Reliance Power secured ADB loan for for its 100 MW CSP project while Azure Power get financing for expanding its 5 MW solar PV project to 40 MW.

Of the VC deals downstream firms, received the most with USD 133 million in nine deals, followed by thin film companies with USD 121 million in four deals this quarter, Mercom Capital said.

“In this quarter we are finally seeing VC investments catch up, with downstream receiving the most funding. Balance-of-system (BOS) companies also represent a significant opportunity for investment, innovation and cost reduction, and they are now the largest slice of the solar system pie, but VC investments in BOS have been surprisingly low,” Mercom Capital Group Managing Partner Raj Prabhu said.

“With news of solar companies downsizing or going out of business seemingly every day, continued steady VC investment activity in the sector is good news,” Prabhu added.

Meanwhile, the M&A activity in the solar sector totaled USD 325 million in 14 transactions.

Only six of these transactions disclosed details. The top M&A transaction was the acquisition of Zhejiang Topoint Photovoltaic, a Chinese mono and polycrystalline maker, for USD 276 million by Guangxi Beisheng Pharmaceutical in an asset restructuring plan.

“Most of the M&A activity were small strategic transactions with a few of them being acquisitions of business divisions for synergistic reasons,” said Prabhu adding that in some cases, acquisitions were of ‘sick’ companies getting rid of non-strategic businesses and assets.

The second quarter of 2012 also saw 13 new cleantech and solar-focused investment funds announced committing USD 3.2 billion, the report added.

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