The global solar sector saw total corporate funding of $7 billion in the first quarter of calendar year 2014 as compared to $5 billion in the same quarter of the previous year, said Mercom Capital Group, LLC, a clean energy communications and consulting firm, in a report.

Corporate funding includes venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), debt financing, and other equity financings raised by public companies.

“It is a robust quarter for solar as financing activity surged in almost all areas. The big story continues to be strong capital markets. VC funding was up with several funding deals involving investment ‘platforms’, while third-party residential/commercial funds continue to raise record amounts,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO, Mercom Capital Group.

Global VC funding, PE and corporate VC in the first quarter 2014 totalled $251 million in 26 deals, up from $87 million in 24 deals in the fourth quarter of 2013. Solar downstream companies attracted most of the VC funding this quarter, with $182 million in 13 deals, the report said. As per the report, there were 43 large-scale project funding deals totalling $3.6 billion announced in the first quarter of 2014. The report said corporate solar M&A activity surged to record 38 transactions in the first quarter of 2014, up from 25 transactions in the first quarter of 2013. Solar downstream companies were involved in the most number of M&A transactions with 22.

It was also a record quarter for project acquisitions, totalling $1.5 billion in 42 transactions with more than 1.7 GW in solar projects changing hands, the report said.

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