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Deal round-up: Solar finds shelter in the private sector

27 May 2011

The penultimate week of May has seen investment stream into the solar industry on both sides of the Atlantic, amid controversy over council ‘money grabs’ in the industry and Scotland’s new Energy Minister declaring wind will be the resource to boost its economy.

While some US renewable energy companies came away heavy-hearted after being turned down for loan guarantees earlier in the month, the solar industry resisted knocks this week, managing to successfully secure equity.

Four year-old Toronto solar module developer Morgan Solar attracted $16.5m in investment from among others, return backer Inversiones Financieras Perseo and new patron The Frost Group. The company said it will use its Series B proceeds to build a new manufacturing plant and extend its existing production facilities as well as furthering research and development.

On the other side of the ocean, UK university spin-out Molecular Solar revealed to NewNet it is looking to raise $5m to support the development of its low-cost and sustainable solar technology.

Mature companies that have graduated from the development funding stage were also able to secure high-value deals this week. A consortium of renewable energy technology developers led by juwi’s Indian arm won a contract valued at $195m to build a 75MW photovoltaic project in Maharashtra state.

Solar holding company Principal Solar made its public debut on the Pink Sheets over-the-counter market, with high hopes of establishing itself as a leading solar energy provider.

French oil group Total made inroads in its acquisition of US solar panel manufacturer SunPower, filing with the European Commission to acquire the Nasdaq-listed company in an all-cash transaction. The conglomerate valued shares in the company at over $23 each, which saw its revenues halve in the first quarter compared to the previous year.

As Principal Solar’s CEO Michael Gorton said he expected the relative costs of solar manufacturing to come down in the coming years below fossil fuel prices, Japan’s third largest mobile retailer Softbank revealed it will invest a significant proportion of its revenue in solar projects.

Solar brokerage pvXchange revealed its plans to expand in Europe and Asia this week, soon on from securing high volume backing from venture capital firm Wheb Partners.

Google, like Scotland, meanwhile reaffirmed its commitment to the wind sector, investing $55m in Terra-Gen’s Alta Wind Energy Center.

Copyright © 2011 NewNet

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