Here’s a list of cleantech news we’re tracking today:

China has become the top country for cleantech investment, outstripping the U.S., according to a report from Ernst & Young. China’s renewable energy investment dollars outdoes the U.S. nearly two to one, Green Chip Stocks reports, and installed wind power capcity in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest in three years. Germany, India, the U.K., Portugal and Spain also topped the list. Read the full report here.

Large-scale solar plant builder BrightSource could go public within three years, GigaOm reports, citing a report from Next Up research. (The report isn’t available online.) The story notes that an IPO would still be a few years off, thanks to the reluctance of venture capitalists to invest in solar — one example being Solyndra’s axed public offering plans. But BrightSource seems to be headed in the IPO direction: it recently won a federal loan guarantee and raised $150 million in its most recent round of financing, bringing total funds raised to over $300 million.

GM, Itochu charge up battery startup Sakti3 with $4.2 million, with GM reportedly proffering $3.2 million of that total. Sakti3 is working on a smaller, cheaper lithium-ion battery that could extend the range of electric vehicles currently on the market. A GM spokeswoman says it’s years away from commercialization, but the technology could eventually wind up in GM’s trucks and cars.

Come launch time in December, the Nissan Leaf will have an edge over the Chevrolet Volt thanks to sweeter state rebate policies – states like California and Tennessee are giving Leaf buyers additional incentives, but shutting out the Volt. We’ve reported before that the Volt got the short shrift from the state of California, which wouldn’t extend single drivers of the Volt access to the HOV lane (though that perk was granted to Prius owners), and also won’t give it the $5,000 rebate it’s giving the Nissan Leaf, since the Volt will have tailpipe emissions (the gas tank kicks in after the electric battery’s 40-mile range runs out), whereas the Leaf is all-electric.

Fire and ice: SunPower and Ice Energy will team up to build a pilot energy storage project, reportedly for Target. The system will use SunPower’s rooftop solar panels to generate power. When the sun wanes, Ice Energy’s ice-based storage system will take over, using power stored from the day to cool the building and cutting peak-time energy costs.

Audi may have blundered in naming its electric cars e-Tron – the French word, étron, essentially means “dung,” says Green Car Reports. If that’s the case, then it’s even more unfortunate that e-Tron is slated to present at the Paris Motor Show next month.