Cleantech Group, a global research firm focused on cleantech innovation, has released preliminary 2011 results for clean technology venture and corporate investments around the globe, which total US$8.99 billion – a 13% increase over 2010. Cleantech mergers and acquisitions reached US$41.2 billion in 2011 with 391 deals – a 153% growth over 2010.

Solar was the leading sector by amount invested (US$1.81 billion), followed by energy efficiency (US$1.46 billion) and transportation (US$1.12 billion). Energy efficiency was the most popular sector measured by number of deals, with 150 funding rounds, ahead of solar (111 deals) and transportation (61 deals).

“While 2011 has been a difficult year for cleantech and venture capital, our 2011 numbers show surging interest in cleantech from global enterprises,” said Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group. “Despite some of the well-publicized headwinds, venture capitalists continue to invest in cleantech. Based on our historical data, we believe 2012 will be an all-time record year for global cleantech investments.”

Throughout 2011, investment totals grew while the number of deals declined by 7% compared to 2010, which Cleantech claim to be an indication that average round size is increasing. Of the 713 deals, 61% (438) were Series B or later rounds, accounting for 85% (US$7.64 billion) of all money invested during the year.

North American investments grew significantly from US$5.20 billion in 2010 to US$6.81 billion in 2011 – a 30% increase, accounting for 76% of the total amount invested. North American companies raised US$6.81 billion, up 31% from 2010. The total of 470 deals disclosed represents a 25% increase from 425 in 2010.

California led the way with US$3.69 billion in investments, followed by Massachusetts (US$542 million) and Colorado (US$358 million). The largest deals included Fisker Automotive (three rounds at US$315 million), BrightSource Energy (US$201 million) and Sundrop Fuels (US$175 million).

On the other hand, Europe and Israel took a step back, raising US$1.30 billion, down 30% from 2010 (US$1.84 billion). There were 172 deals, also down 33%, from 256 in 2010. The largest deals were for Better Place (US$200 million), Plastic Logic (US$200 million) and Nexeon (US$88 million).

Asian companies raised US$879 million in 71 disclosed rounds in 2011. China ranked second after the United States in amount raised (US$534 million), and third after the United Kingdom. The largest deals were for Soham Renewable Energy (US$60 million), Champion of the Earth (US$51.6 million) and ShineOn (US$51.5 million).

In the public markets, China remained strong for cleantech IPOs with 28 of the 51 IPOs in 2011, led by several massive offerings by large renewable energy corporations such as Sinohydro, Sinovel Wind Group and Huaneng Renewable Energy.

The 51 clean technology IPOs during the year totalled US$9.59 billion, down from the US$16.41 billion in 2010. The largest IPO was for Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned hydropower company, which raised US$2.12 billion on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Totals were also disclosed for 119 of the 391 cleantech M&A transactions totalling US$41.2 billion. The largest deal was DuPont’s US$6.3 billion acquisition of Danisco, a leading industrial biotechnology company.

2011 Most Active Cleantech Venture Investors:

Investor Number of VC Rounds
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) 35 
DFJ Global Network 24 
New Enterprise Associates 17 
Chrysalix Global Network 15 
Rockport Capital Partners 15
Khosla Ventures 15

Cleantech Group’s Quarterly Investment Monitor Report is supported by Deloitte, Silicon Valley Bank and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Detailed information on recent venture activity and transactions is available in real-time in i3, Cleantech Group’s market intelligence platform, at Final numbers will be released to clients in the Quarterly Investment Monitor Report on February 16, 2012.