1Q 2009 cleantech investment drops

Market research firm Cleantech Group reported that venture investment in the clean technology sector fell 41% to around $1 billion for the first quarter of 2009 compared to the 4Q ’08.

“We knew the numbers were coming down. Capital markets overall have dropped the past two quarters and cleantech as a subset is not immune to that,” said Brian Fan, Cleantech Group senior director of research. “We didn’t record a single $100 million deal. That’s very unusual. We haven’t seen that for several years.”

North America accounted for 68 percent of the 1Q09 investment total, while Europe and Israel accounted for 28 percent, China for 2 percent and India for 1 percent.

There were still bright spots despite the venture funding slowdown, according to CleanTech.

During the first quarter, solar companies again garnered the most attention, capturing $346 million, or more then one-third of the quarter’s total venture investment. Norsun, a Norwegian polysilicon producer, raised the most in a $72 million round led by Good Energies.

Biofuels raised $96 million, followed by the advanced batteries and electric vehicle subsectors, which raised $94 million and $78 million respectively.

But wait! There’s more!

The biggest bright spot, said CleanTech, is that governments representing nearly a dozen countries are now backing clean technologies through stimulus packages, loan guarantees and tax incentives.

Almost $400 billion of roughly $2.6 trillion in economic stimulus allocations announced so far by G20 nations are now earmarked for clean technologies such as renewable energy, improved electrical grids and cleaner cars.

All in all, clean technology is here to stay where the current economy likes it or not.

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