GE and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure startup Better Place announced a partnership this morning. The collaboration will build compatibility between the products of the two companies, finance battery purchases abroad and push for greater EV adoption. The companies will help finance the purchase of 10,000 EV batteries in Israel and Denmark and will make GE’s WattStation charging stations (pictured) compatible with Better Place’s network of EV infrastructure. [Update: Check out our in-depth look at how the partnership will work.]

Private equity firm Quantum Energy Partners has formed Quantum Utility Generation, a company to be capitalized with $1 billion of equity that will purchase and develop traditional and alternative energy projects in North America. The company will be called Quantum Utility Generation, and already has $500 million committed by Quantum, with the other half to come from investors and strategic partners.

The CalCEF Angel Fund announced an $11 million close today. The fund aims to invest in early-stage cleantech companies, providing capital up to $500,000 per round as well as strategic guidance to young startups. Its portfolio includes Reel Solar and Alphabet Energy. Look for more on this story soon on  GreenBeat.

The U.S. smart grid market is poised to grow more than 70 percent to be worth $9.6 billion by 2015, according to a report from GTM Research. The expansion will be fueled in part by federal grants and increased market competition and consolidation. The report predicts that “the distinction between smart grid and traditional distribution grids [will] dissolve” as utilities and users move towards intelligent hardware and software.

Recurrent Energy announced yesterday it will be purchased by Sharp for $305 million cash. The company will retain its name and CEO, and will act as a subsidiary to Sharp. With this purchase, Sharp, a top solar panel manufacturer, adds to its portfolio Recurrent’s 2 gigawatt-pipeline of distributed-scale solar projects. CNET calls the purchase evidence of “ongoing consolidation in the solar industry,” while Green Tech Media notes that solar developers with big projects are a hot commodity and speculates Axio Power may be next for an acquisition.

Photovoltaic solar panel giant First Solar is gearing its efforts towards utility-scale projects in U.S. market. In an in-depth interview with Reuters, First Solar CEO Robert Gillette explains the company’s strategy – ramp up major projects in the U.S. and look to Australia as the German market slows thanks to the winding-down of solar incentives there.