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Global Funding in Sustainable Energy Tops $1 Billion in First Half of 2017

This year is proving to be the year of investing in innovative energy technology. Mercom Capital Group reports that in the first half of 2017,  over $1 billion in venture capital and private equity funding has been invested in battery storage, smart grid and energy efficiency companies worldwide, exceeding the first-half funding benchmarks in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, surveyed the combined venture capital funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) and mergers & acquisitions across 89 companies in three separate sectors – Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency. Total investments in these areas amounted to $1.03 billion across the first half of 2017, a marked 25% jump from $807 million in the first half of 2016.

Where are the largest investments being made?

China’s Microvast Power came out on top across all sectors, bringing in $400 million for its battery storage growth plan. Rounding out the top five venture capital-funded companies were View Dynamic Glass (efficiency) with $100 million, ChargePoint (smart grid) with $82 million, Actility (smart grid) with $75 million and Kinestral (efficiency) with $65 million.

Overall, the battery storage sector collected the largest amount of funding of the deals reported at $480 million over 18 deals, whereas the highest number deals took place among smart grid companies – 22 total over the first half of this year, amounting to $304 million. The energy efficiency sector brought in $242 million through 20 deals that were reported.

Breakdown by sector

Within the battery storage sector, Microvast’s deal was followed by Massachusetts-based Vionx Energy with investors supporting its long- duration energy storage solution,  as well as British battery maker Moixa Technology. The sector is seeing a notable upward trend compared to this time last year, at $179 million across 20 deals. Top investors included CITIC Securities, CDH Investment, and National Venture Capital.

The smart grid sector saw a minor dip in investment from $331 million over 29 deals in 2016 to $304 million over 22 deals this year. However, there was a big jump to 13 M&A transactions, up from 5 at the same time last year. In Q2 alone, 17 investors contributed to smart grid venture capital funding rounds, with Actility securing funding from Creadev, Bosch, Inmarsat, Idinvest, Bpifrance, Ginko Ventures, KPN, Orange Digital Ventures, Swisscom, and Foxconn, and ChargePoint raising funds from Siemens.

Energy efficiency also saw a slight drop, from $297 million in 23 deals last year to $242 million in 20 deals in 2017. While France-based Kinestral saw the largest overall investment, CIMCON Lighting secured the top venture capital deal in the sector, raising $15 million from Energy Impact Partners. In Q2, six investors contributed to venture capital funding of energy efficiency overall.

All in all, it’s been an exciting six months for some of the most groundbreaking actors in battery storage, smart grids and energy efficiency. We’ll be keeping a close watch to see what the year-end brings for companies in these sectors and in the sustainable energy industry as a whole.

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Sahir Surmeli

Member / Co-chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Sahir Surmeli is a Mintz business counselor who advises companies, boards, entrepreneurs, investment banks, and venture and private equity investors as they build and grow companies. He handles public offerings, 144A and private financings, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships.