While it might have been a tough year for most investments on Wall Street, venture capital funding into alternative energies really took off in 2008, setting records.
Solar investments helped drive the growth, capturing 40 percent of green-tech investments. Thin-film solar deals did particularly well, capturing the three largest investments in green technology last year.
NanoSolar raised $300 million last year, followed by Solyndra with venture investments of $219 million and SoloPower with $200 million.
Cleantech Group’s senior research director, Brian Fan, said in a statement:
2008 saw solar take a 40 percent share of clean-technology venture investment dollars, led by mega investment rounds in thin-film solar, concentrated solar thermal, and solar-service provider companies.
Investors also continued to migrate from first-generation ethanol and biodiesel technologies to next-generation biofuels technologies, led by algae and synthetic biology companies. Other sectors with healthy investor interest included smart-grid companies, small-scale wind turbines, plastics recycling, green buildings, and agriculture technologies.
Biofuels… ethanol, biodiesel, synthetic biology, and algae… are the next biggest sector, capturing 11 percent of green-tech venture investments in 2008 with electric vehicles, advanced batteries, and fuel cells, grabbing 9.5 percent. Worldwide, the U.S. raised the most in green-tech venture funding.