According to reports by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, after a record year in 2011, clean energy investment in the first quarter of 2012 fell to a three year low. New financial investment was down 28% from Q4 2011, 22% lower than the equivalent figure in the first quarter last year.
Of the new financial investment Bloomberg report that $24.2bn was in asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects, the largest investment in a European solar park being $248m in the 60.4MW SunEdison Karadzhalovo solar PV plant in Bulgaria. $1.9bn was in venture capital and private equity investment whilst just $601m was raised on the public markets, 87% down on the equivalent quarter in 2011- with confidence knocked following plunging shares and high profile bankruptices over the past year. Dramatic tariff changes across Europe have further unsettled investors with predictions on returns becoming increasingly uncertain.
The financial environment is however increasing the competitiveness of the sector and one thing is clear, those that make it through this difficult time will set themselves in good stead for the future. Companies seeking clever business models, strategic consolidation and M&A and innovative financing mechanisms will weather the storm and emerge as leading contenders and those investing in such companies and their projects will see good returns.
Jenny Chase, Head of Solar Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance will chair the 5th Annual Solar Investment Forum at Intersolar Europe to discuss the current financial climate and the business models and strategies that are enabling companies to grow and ensure good returns to investors.
Five lively hour long panels consisting of top representatives from equity funds, commercial banks, solar developers, technology manufacturers, legal firms and venture capitalists will tackle the trends in the market. As the only investment event in Europe to focus exclusively on the solar industry and the challenges inherent with it, topics will range from raising equity from new sources; successfully filing for IPOs in current market conditions; financing project development with loans, bonds and leasing; sale and purchase of consolidated solar assets; strategic partnerships; vendor financing; and M&A.
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