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Clean Energy Investment Rises 22% on Solar Boom, New Energy Says

New investment in clean energy rose 22 percent from a year ago to $41.7 billion in the second quarter following a jump in funding for solar thermal power plants, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

The figure was 27 percent higher than in the first quarter and the third-highest on record, the London-based researcher said. BrightSource Energy Inc. raised $2.2 billion for its 392-megawatt project in the U.S. while funds also flowed to Nextera Energy Resources LLC and Eskom Holdings Ltd.

The findings contrast with a 13 percent slump during the quarter for the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, which tracks 93 clean energy companies. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index of leading U.S. shares was little changed in the period.

“The explanation is partly to do with ongoing investor worries, perhaps overdone, about future policy support, and partly to do with the fact that this is a highly competitive sector, in which costs are falling and high manufacturer margins are hard to sustain,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance, said in a statement released today.

Private equity and venture capital investment rose 74 percent to $3.1 billion last quarter, the highest for any quarter since 2008.

Equity capital investments through initial public offerings and other measures fell 7 percent to $3.4 billion from the first quarter.

While China remained the biggest investor in clean energy projects, its funding fell 11 percent to $12 billion from the first three months of the year. In the U.S., investment almost tripled to $10.5 billion, the third-highest figure ever.

Mergers, acquisitions and refinancing were not included in the investment figures. Those funds rose 93 percent to $21.7 billion following the French oil company Total SA’s purchase of SunPower Corp.

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