A secretive solar cell developer Solyndra, based in Santa Clara, Ca, has received $79.2 million in venture capital, according to New Energy Finance, a London research group. The money apparently comes from Redpoint and CMEA, to Silicon Valley venture capital firms, reports VentureWire separately (sub required).

The information emerged as part of New Energy Finance’s report on investments in alternative energy, which showed that venture capital and private equity firms poured some $2.23 billion into the sector during first quarter. That’s 58 percent above the first-quarter level last year and 60 percent above fourth-quarter investment levels, it said.

Other deals mentioned included France’s Silicium de Provence, a producer of “solar-grade” silicon, which got $394 million ,and Imperium Renewables, a Seattle-based biodiesel producer, which received $113 million.

About $899 million was raised in the public markets in the sector, compared to $570 million raised in initial public offerings in the first quarter last year.

John Walecka, a founding partner of Redpoint Ventures, and Tom Baruch, founder and managing director of CMEA Ventures, are on the Solyndra board, VentureWire notes. They also sit on the board of Intermolecular, a secretive San Jose-based company that “accelerates integration learning in the development and commercialization of advanced materials.”

A patent filing suggests Solyndra is pursuing a variation on the Copper Indium Gallium di-selenide (CIGS) thin-film technology pursued by companies like HelioVolt Corp., Miasole and Nanosolar.

(Story originally reported 4/5)

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