U.S. venture capital investment in green technology plunged 44% in the second quarter to $1.1 billion from the record set in the second quarter of 2010, according to a report issued Wednesday by Ernst & Young.
Investment rose 8%, however, from the first quarter of 2011. The number of deals in the second quarter fell 12% to 68 compared to the year-ago quarter.
“Clean tech financing levels remain strong in the context of investment levels over the past several quarters,” Jay Spencer, Ernst & Young Americas’ Cleantech Director, said in a statement. “We’re seeing continued commitments to solar, electric vehicles and energy efficiency technologies from the venture community, as well large corporate and private investors.”
Startups involved in energy and electricity production grabbed the biggest pot of cash in the second quarter, raising $311.6 million. Solar companies’ share was $234.2 million, and just one company, solar power plant builder BrightSource Energy of Oakland, Calif., took in $168 million.
Fisker Automotive, a Southern California startup that is developing luxury hybrid electric cars, scored $115 million in the second quarter while Hara, a Silicon Valley company that makes environmental and energy management software, took in $25 million.
No surprise that California companies accounted for 51% of venture investment in the second quarter, according to Ernst & Young, which based its analysis on data provided by Dow Jones VentureSource. Still, investment in the green tech stronghold of Northern California fell 63% compared to the second quarter of 2010, according to the report.
Investors continued to focus on later-stage startups in their portfolios, the report said, with those companies taking 67% of investment in the second quarter. Startups that are actually generating revenues took in 79% of investment.