Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.

The AP, Local Tech Wire

DENVER – Investors cautiously began putting money into solar, electric cars and other clean technology companies in the third quarter as government funding helped bolster confidence, a research group said Wednesday.

and Deloitte said Wednesday that third-quarter venture investment in the sector totaled $1.6 billion in 134 companies in North America, Europe, China and India.

The amount was 42 percent less than the year-ago total but was 10 percent more than in the previous quarter.

Details from

• Solar – $451 million

Deals included: California-based thin film company Solyndra, which raised $198 million from a group of investors led by Argonaut Private Equity; California-based SolFocus, a developer of concentrating PV systems, which closed its Series C fundraising on $77.6 million from investors including Apex Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, NGEN, Yellowstone Capital, Demeter Partners, and affiliates of Advanced Equities; and California-based SunRun, a residential power purchase agreement (PPA) provider, which raised $18 million from Accel Partners and Foundation Capital.

• Transportation (including Vehicles, Advanced Batteries & Biofuels) – $383 million

Deals included: Tesla Motors, the California-based electric car manufacturer, which raised $82.5 million in funding from a group of investors led by London-based Fjord Capital Management; Think Global, the Norwegian electric car manufacturer, which officially announced a $46 million round; and Amyris Biotechnologies, the California-based developer of a synthetic platform to create renewable fuels and chemicals, which secured $24.8 million as part of an ongoing $62 million Series C funding round.

• Green Buildings (including Energy Efficient Buildings, Glass & Lighting) – $110 million

Deals included: Serious Materials, the California-based developer of a range of green building materials, which raised $60 million in Series C funding from Mesirow Financial, Enertech Capital, Cheyenne Partners, Saints Capital, as well as existing investors; and iControl Networks the California-based developer of broadband home management systems for controlling energy usage, which raised $23 million in Series C funding from Tyco International’s ADT Security Services, Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital, GE Security, and existing venture capital backers

The reported noted that the funding total marked the second consecutive quarter that cleantech investment has increased, an indication the sector is recovering, said Dallas Kachan, Cleantech Group’s managing director.

"The vast sums being put to work by governments worldwide are helping loosen the private capital floodgates," he said. "Efficiency has become a major focus for entrepreneurs and investors this year."

North American companies received the bulk of the venture investment, $1.1 billion, which was about 42 percent less than the third quarter of 2008 but up 8 percent from the previous quarter.
European and Israeli companies received $457 million; Chinese companies received $41.8 million and India, $21.5 million.

Details from the report:

• NORTH AMERICA: North America accounted for 67 percent of the total, raising USD $1.1 billion in 73 disclosed rounds, up 8 percent from 2Q09 and down 42 percent from 3Q08. As the most significant region for VC investment, the sector trends broadly match those described globally. The region accounted for the four largest venture deals (Solyndra, Tesla Motors, SolFocus and Serious Materials) as well as the largest IPO (A123 Systems). California led the way, with $655 million (61 percent total share) in investment, followed by Colorado ($47 million, 4 percent).

• EUROPE AND ISRAEL: Europe and Israel received 29 percent of the total, raising USD $457 million in 53 disclosed rounds, up 61 percent from 2Q09 yet down 42 percent from 3Q08. Energy generation ($246 million, 21 deals) received the most investment, followed by vehicles ($51 million, three deals). The largest deal was Norwegian electric car maker Think Global, which emerged from bankruptcy and announced a $47 million round, part of which had been announced in Q209. There were also large deals for Irish bio-energy company Imperative Energy, which raised $43 million, and UK-based fuel cell company Intelligent Energy, which raised $30 million. The UK led with $125 million in 17 deals, with France in second position with $72 million in 10 deals.

China received 3 percent of the total VC investment, raising USD $41.8 million in three clean technology VC deals: Nobao Renewable Energy attracted USD $25 million from Tsing Capital to develop geothermal heating and cooling technology; Nanjing City Control Information Technology raised USD $14.6 million to develop smart transportation control systems; and thin film solar and building integrated photovoltaic company Wuhan Rixin Technology attracted USD $2.2 million. Four private equity deals were tracked, totaling USD $886 million. Three M&A deals were tracked totaling more than USD $146 million. Two of the deals involved solar companies and one involved waste to energy companies.

• INDIA: Indian cleantech companies raised USD $21.5 million in five investment rounds (of which one deal amount was not disclosed). The amount invested in 3Q09 was significantly lower than the previous quarter (USD $134 million) and 3Q08 (USD $185 million). Five M&A deals were tracked with a total value of USD $142 million (of which two deals amount were not disclosed). Energy generation attracted most interest and in particular the wind sector. Companies involved in M&A deals this quarter were Schneider Electric India, Techno Electric & Engineering, Chloride Group, Luminous Power Technologies and IDFC Private Equity. Mumbai-based Euro Multivision had an IPO in September in to raise capital and consolidate its solar photovoltaic manufacturing unit in Gujarat. Chennai-based industrial water solution provider VA Tech Wabag announced plans to raise USD $100 million via an IPO next year.

The solar sector outpaced the rest with $451 million in investments, led by solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc. The California-based thin film company raised $198 million from investors and received a $535 million federal loan guarantee for construction of a manufacturing plant in Fremont.

The transportation sector – vehicles, batteries and biofuels – raised $383 million; and energy-efficient building product companies raised $110 million.

Cleantech Group provides global market research and Deloitte provides financial services to cleantech companies.