Venture capital investments for the first quarter totaled $1.9 billion, up 29 percent from the fourth quarter and 83 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Cleantech Group and Deloitte.
The VC investments cover deals in North America, Europe, China and India and 180 companies.
Sheeraz Haji, president of the Cleantech Group, said the investment was "the strongest start to a year we have ever recorded."
Meanwhile, utilities and corporations continued to invest heavily in cleantech. In the U.S., wind and solar garnered the most investment from utilities. The U.S. Department of Energy has been handing out grants for alternative energy and smart grid development.
On the corporate front, Royal Dutch Shell, GM and Valero Energy invested in biomass and wind projects.
Here's the breakdown of first quarter investments by sector:
- Transportation investment was $704 million in 27 deals, with a $350 million capital round for Better Place, which provides electric vehicle services, dominating.
- Solar had $322 million of investment in 27 deals.
- Energy efficiency had 39 deals good for $217 million. The top three deals were all LED lighting companies.
Other first quarter odds and ends:
- North American companies accounted for 81 percent of the total investment with Europe and Israel bringing in 14 percent.
- North American companies---Better Place, Fisker Automotive, Vulcan Power, Enerkem, Petra Solar, and Ze-gen---landed six of the largest venture deals.
- Europe and Israeli companies raised $257 million in 43 rounds, up 8 percent from a year ago.
- There were 13 cleantech IPOs in the quarter, down from 18 in the first quarter. China had eight offerings.
And a look at the big investors: