Cleantech Funding Train Keeps On Rolling
As GTM has reported, record amounts of capital are flowing into renewable energy, and the pace of projects and capital deployment is still accelerating. That makes for thousands of deals, projects and funds.
Here’s a taste of January’s cleantech financing.
Vision Ridge partners on $430 million clean energy fund
Capricorn is former eBay chief Jeff Skoll’s money manager; its investments include Tesla and SpaceX. Private equity firm Vision Ridge’s portfolio includes Sungevity, Proterra, Blu Homes, Powerhouse Dynamics and Mercatus.
Regarding the shift to renewables, Reuben Munger, managing partner at Vision Ridge, was quoted as saying, “What we’ve seen, and what some of our key investors have seen, is that there’s actually a great opportunity to make money off of this transition.”
SolarCity securitizes $185 million in solar loans
In an industry first, SolarCity has closed a $185 million securitization of a portfolio of distributed solar loans. This is the solar financier’s fifth securitization deal as a firm and the first for loan products. The $185 million placement translates to $2.89 per watt of generation capacity with a blended yield rate of 5.81 percent. The notes received an investment grade rating of BBB from Standard & Poor’s and Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Credit Suisse was the sole bookrunner for the deal.
SolarCity’s most recent securitization had a yield of 4.4 percent for 20-year lease and PPA assets.
Sunrun receives $250 million loan from Investec
Residential solar installer and financier Sunrun and Investec Bank closed $250 million of “senior secured credit facilities in Sunrun’s largest syndicated bank financing to date.” Sunrun CFO Bob Komin noted in a release, “These low-cost revolving facilities also carry a five-year term, the longest in the industry, providing us maximum flexibility.”
Canadian Solar secures $70 million investment from IFC
IFC is a global development bank focused on the private sector in emerging markets. The financing package will be used to fund Canadian’s module production in Vietnam and expand its solar cell and module production in emerging markets.
Generate Capital financed $150 million in infrastructure programs in 2015
Generate Capital, founded by Jigar Shah, Scott Jacobs and Matan Friedman, provides financing for energy, agriculture and water infrastructure projects. The company claims, “Traditional capital sources often consider these infrastructure projects as too risky or too small in size, preventing capital from flowing despite compelling economic value propositions.”
Generate has committed $150 million for these projects. The investment firm is looking for “under-served markets (high-efficiency water pumps are a good example) that require high capital expenditures,” according to Shah, in an interview with GTM’s Stephen Lacey.
Generate Capital offers “standard” financial products, such as asset-backed lending, project finance, asset warehouses and other short-term financing, as well as “custom” products geared to meet the client’s needs. Scott Jacobs, CEO of the firm, said, “For many years, the market has been crying out for permanent, flexible capital, for transparency in underwriting and for efficiency in transacting, so we designed our business specifically for these purposes.”
Venture capital investments in cleaner energy
Venture capitalists invested $58.8 billion into U.S.-based startups in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters, PwC and the National Venture Capital Association — the second-highest figure recorded.
But VCs continue to turn a blind eye to the cleantech sector — with less than $700 million invested in the last quarter of 2015, according to Clean Energy Pipeline, and just a fraction of that total going to early-stage deals.
We covered January’s VC deals here and have added a few more on top to round out this list.
SolidEnergy, the developer of an “anode-free” lithium metal battery with a dual-layer electrolyte, raised $12 million in a series B round led by an undisclosed U.S. auto maker and joined by SAIC, Applied Ventures, and all series A investors.
Powerhive, a microgrid developer and financier for emerging markets, closed a $20 million series A financing round led by Prelude Ventures along with Caterpillar Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Pi Investments. Recently, Off-grid renewable energy companies raised close to $200 million in 2015 versus the roughly $64 million invested in off-grid solar solutions in 2014.
MPrest raised $20 million in equity funding led by GE Ventures and OurCrowd in its series A. The startup provides software to “connect the dots” across “multiple complex systems of any scale for real-time situation awareness [and] predictive analytics.” The firm is already working with New York Power Authority and Israel Electric Corp.
London-based Telensa, a 10-year-old developer of networked LED street lighting equipment for “smart city” applications, raised $18 million in equity and debt from Environmental Technologies Fund and Silicon Valley Bank.
Mercatus, a cloud-based provider of “Energy Investment Management” solutions to energy producers, developers and financiers, raised $11.7 million in series B funding led by Traverse Venture Partners and TPG’s Alternative and Renewable Technology fund, along with existing series A investors Vision Ridge Partners, Trepp and Augment Ventures.
Pellion Technologies, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of a magnesium battery technology with a potentially high energy density, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Motorola Solutions. Motorola joins previous investor Khosla Ventures, along with the DOE.
Small modular reactor startup Terrestrial Energy closed $8 million in funding from undisclosed sources for its Integral Molten Salt Reactor design, according to SEC documents. The small nuclear reactors are intended for industrial process heat markets, with market deployment targeted “in the 2020s.”
According to SEC documents, Geli, the distributed energy storage software developer, has raised $3 million of a $9 million funding round from undisclosed investors. Strategic funders will fill out the rest of the round, according to sources.
Voltaiq closed on $1.6 million of a $3 million funding round, according to SEC documents. The startup is developing software to track and analyze the performance of batteries with analytics and big data. Michael Berolzheimer, an investor at Bee Partners, is listed on the SEC document.
Small mergers, acquisitions and fire sales
Oaktree Capital Management acquired Solarrus, a provider of third-party O&M services to the renewable energy and electric vehicle industries. Oaktree is an investment management firm focused on alternative investments, with over $100 billion in assets under management.
Cleantech Funding Train Keeps On Rolling