Silicon Valley Putting Green Money Where Its Mouth Is

Local venture-capital firms lead in cleantech funding

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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Silicon Valley Putting Green Money Where Its Mouth Is

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Solar power still the leading recipient of clean technology investment from venture capitalists, but transportation and energy efficiency are on the rise.

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Though venture-capital investment is down across the board thanks to the world's economic problems, investment in cleaner technology solutions hasn't been hit as hard.

According to a report by analysts at The Cleantech Group, local VC firms led the way, with Menlo Park's Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers participating in 19 investment rounds during 2009.

RockPort Capital Parners and Khosla Ventures, also based in Menlo Park, were third and fourth on the list, respectively.

At least somebody with some actual money is listening to former Vice President and climate change preacher Al Gore.

Solar energy still won the largest share of investment, but was down 64 percent from 2008, with transportation and energy efficiency investment both up.

But if you're looking for a "green collar" job, don't hold your breath -- all that cleantech investment hasn't stemmed the rising tide of unemployment, with Silicon Valley losing 42,700 jobs in 2009, with total employment shrinking by 4.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Stastics.

Jackson West figures by "transportation" they probably mean "electric cars."

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