Here’s the latest action we’re following on the GreenBeat:

Cleantech investing hit $4 billion in 2010 — Investments in cleantech companies are up 8 percent from the year before, according to a report by accounting firm Ernst & Young. Most investors decided to give money to late-stage cleantech startups that had already been well established. Only 26 percent of venture capitalists invested in early-stage cleantech startups.

U.S. can’t meet Obama’s goal of 1M electric cars by 2015 — Electric car manufacturers don’t have high enough production targets to meet that goal, according to a report by the University of Indiana’s school of Public and Environmental Affairs. Obama set the target during his State of the Union address last week.

Sungevity names Mac Irvin as Chief Financial Officer — the solar panel installation company snagged Irvin from SunPower, another solar panel manufacturing company. Irvin secured around $500 million in transactions with Morgan Stanley, General Electric, Wells Fargo and others while he was at SunPower.

$20 billion will be spent on smart grid research in the next 10 years — and 75 percent of that will come from major utilitycompanies updating their power grids, according to a report by Lux Research. GE said it would work with ABB, an automated power developer, to invest in cleantech companies as part of the effort.

Solar energy stocks have a field day after MEMC Electronic Materials posts strong earnings — Goldman Sachs also issued a note that First Solar and other solar power stocks were probably undervalued. Ardour Capital upgraded MEMC to a “buy” rating, but the stocks came back to earth during day trading once markets opened today as the rest of the market showed a bit of weakness.

Grants from the Department of Energy lead to later-stage venture capital investment — Six projects that received seed funding from the DOE’s Advanced Research Project Agency have gone on to raise $100 million in mid-stage venture capital funding in just more than a year, according to a report from the DOE. The companies focus on solar energy and improving battery storage.

[Photo: david_megginson]