Private equity investment in the alternative energy industry has gone up and down slightly in recent years. According to the PitchBook Platform, PE investors have backed 181 U.S.- or Canada-based companies active in the clean energy space since the beginning of 2007. 2013 has already leapfrogged 2012's tally, with 29 deals completed year-to-date versus 27 last year.
Going back to 2007, 2012's deal count was a six-year low for the timeframe. Deal activity dropped 18% from 2011 to 2012. Investors have been split on deciding whether to take control of clean energy companies or take minority stakes in them. Growth/expansion deals made up 42% of all of the deal activity in 2009, compared to buyouts' 30% share. 2011 reversed the trend of growth deals outpacing buyouts, with 28% of year's activity in buyout deals versus 21% in growth. This year, growth investments have surged back, accounting for 43% of deal activity against 31% for buyouts.