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Clean-tech investment in first quarter of 2010 improves

May 6, 2010 |  4:21 pm

Solar

Two Southern California electric-car manufacturers helped improve clean-tech investment in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same period the year before, according to analysis from Ernst & Young released Thursday.

The $100 million that Coda Automotive Inc. raised, combined with the $93 million pulled in by Fisker Automotive Inc. helped the Industrial Products and Services category attract the most clean-tech capital investment of the quarter: $261.7 million, or 36% of total financing.

Compared with the first quarter of 2009, the segment drew 490% more in funding.

Clean-tech investment is recovering faster than overall venture capital investment, Ernst & Young concluded based on data released last month from Dow Jones VentureSource.

With 72 deals in the first quarter – more than double the number for the same period last year -- clean-tech companies hauled in $733.3 million in funding, representing a 68% increase from the year before. California had the lion’s share, with 32 deals pulling in $487.9 million, compared with $151.7 million from 10 deals in the first quarter of 2009.

Total venture capital investment grew just 11% in the same period to $4.7 billion.

Analysts credited rising oil prices and signs of a stabilizing economy with encouraging investors to sink their money into clean technology.

The energy efficiency category alone received 41% of the funding for seed or first-round deals.  The 20 deals in the segment were dominated by technologies such as smart meters and a $12 million deal for lighting control systems company Adura Technologiesin San Francisco.

Solar investment jumped 233% to $159.9 million compared with the previous year, boosted by a $60 million deal for SolarCity Corp. in Foster City.

The San Francisco area dominated with 28 clean-tech deals, compared with three deals in Southern California. But while the former brought in $278 million in funding, Southern California was close with $202.8 million, thanks to the car companies.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: A SolarCity worker installs solar panels at an L.A. home in October. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

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