Solar power attracts VC's attention in second quarter, gets US$670m

Venture capitalists invested a record amount of money in greentech in the second quarter, according to a report released by Greentech Media's research arm.

Overall, the investments in North America, Europe, Israel and Australia reached $1.3 billion in 74 deals, the Venture Power Report concluded. That represents an increase of 30 percent from the first quarter, when the Venture Power Report tracked $1 billion in 73 cleantech deals.

From solar power's perspective, the companies in this sector bagged the largest portion of the funding in the second quarter, raising $670 million in more than 23 financing rounds. It was highlighted that concentrating solar thermal companies eSolar, BrightSource Energy and Sterling Energy Systems managed almost half of that, taking home a total of $350 million.

In May this year, BrightSource Energy, Inc., developer of utility-scale solar energy projects, had secured $115 million in additional corporate funding from its Series C round of financing, bringing the total the company has raised to date to over $160 million. VantagePoint Venture Partners, the company's initial investor, played a major role in forming the syndicate, which includes, BP Alternative Energy, StatoilHydro Venture and Black River.

Apart from solar power, biofuels represented the next-largest sector, pulling in $258 million in 12 deals, while energy efficiency and smart-grid companies snagged $138 million in 14 deals.

According to Eric Wesoff, a senior analyst at Greentech Media Research, at the rate investors are plunging money into greentech companies, 2008 is on track to beat last year's record-breaking total of $3.43 billion.