NextEnergy Capital has announced the first close of NextPower II with €150 million in initial commitments. The investment vehicle will hold to the firm’s focus on the solar energy industry by acquiring solar power projects in Italy. NextPower II was “established to pursue the attractive long-term opportunity” in the sector, said Michael Bonte-Friedheim, NEC founding partner and CEO.
In recent years, investors like NEC have increasingly banked on the long-term potential of clean energy, which is seen by many as a viable alternative to oil in the future. According to the PitchBook Platform, the clean energy sector garnered 300 PE deals in 2015, continuing a steady year-over-year climb since the 155 investments in 2012. This year, however, has seen a cooling of activity. Investors completed 48 clean energy deals in 1Q, a 14% dip QoQ and 47% slump YoY. This quarter is likely to continue the downward trend as only 25 deals have closed so far.
Within the sector, companies focused on energy production have attracted the most PE investment this year, with 41 transactions (56% of activity). Energy services and energy equipment businesses are tied for second with 13 PE deals each.