U.S. venture capital (VC) investment in cleantech companies increased by 54% to $1.14 billion in the first quarter of this year (Q1 2011), according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. This figure is an increase from $743.3 million in the first quarter of 2010 (Q1 2010).
The top 10 deals in Q1 2011 totaled $683.1 million, 60% of the total raised for the quarter. Two deals accounted for 18% of the total dollars raised.
The energy/electricity generation segment, led by strong solar investments, raised $450.3 million through 16 deals in Q1 2011. The solar sub-segment accounted for 39% of the total dollars raised for the quarter, with $362.7 million – a 162% gain from Q1 2010.
Large investments also bolstered the energy-storage segment to be the second largest in terms of dollars in Q1 2011. Battery companies drew in $121 million of this investment compared to $8 million in Q1 2010.
In Q1 2011, California accounted for 56% of the total dollars funded, with $637.2 million – up 41% from Q1 2010. Northern California attracted 79% of dollars raised throughout the state.
The first quarter was also strong for investment in the Southeast and the New England regions. Companies in the Southeast garnered $150.2 million, and New England-area companies attracted $174.23 million.