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The U.S. is now the third largest investor in clean technology ventures as of 2010, behind Germany and China, according to a report by Pew. It was the second largest investor in 2009.

Venture capitalists and others invested $65.8 billion in clean technology ventures in 2010, up 35 percent from 2009, according to the report. It’s a distant third behind Europe, the leading region that invested $94.4 billion in clean technology ventures in 2010. That region also includes the Middle East and Africa. Countries in Asia invested $82.8 billion in clean technology ventures in 2010, up 33 percent from 2009.

China was the largest investor in clean technology ventures, dropping $54.4 billion into the sector — up 39 percent from $39.1 billion in 2009. Germany came in second after trailing the United States last year by investing $41.2 billion in clean technology startups in 2010, double what it invested in 2009. The U.S. only invested $34 billion in clean technology ventures, up 51 percent from $22.5 billion in 2009.

Solar power investments accounted for a large chunk of that funding. Investments in small-scale solar energy companies — ones that install solar panels on homes and typically generate less than 1 megawatt of power — were up 100 percent to $56.4 billion. That’s because a massive surge in residential solar panels in Germany and Japan fueled consumer demand for small-scale solar power projects, according to the report. Total investments in solar power technology amounted to $79 billion — or 40 percent of all clean technology investments, up 53 percent from 2009.

The US solar power industry seems to be doing well and is on track to have a good year. It’s attracting investment from companies that want to buy up demand. Chinese player LDK Solar, for example, picked up a $33 million majority stake in Solar Power, Inc. There are a number of solar power companies that have already gone public. The U.S. solar power industry also grew 67 percent to $6 billion in 2010, up from $3.8 billion in 2009, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Wind energy continues to attract the largest amount of funding from clean technology investors, bringing in $95 billion — up 34 percent from 2009. Wind power ventures accounted for 48 percent of all clean technology investments, according to the report. Biofuels ventures only accounted for $4.7 billion of all clean technology investments in 2010.


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