The buzz around cleantech is getting louder. In terms of deal volume, 2009 turned out to be a record year for global cleantech investments, according to Greentech Media, a US-based online media firm tracking this space.

While the value of global VC investments in greentech in 2009 was much lower at $4.85 billion compared to $7.5 billion in 2008, deal volume (or number of deals) showed a marginal improvement at 356 (350 in 2008).

The fall in deal value in 2009 is mainly on account of the economic slowdown in the first and second quarters of the year resulting in less capital available for investments.

Within the spectrum, solar was the top recipient with $1.4 billion in 84 deals followed by bio-fuels which attracted $975 million in 44 deals.

In India too, the cleantech space is being keenly watched by PE/VC players. With the government offering a generation-based incentive to wind power producers, this segment may see more action and deals. In one of the biggest deals in this space, IDFC Private Equity, the largest investor in the renewable energy space, continued to strengthen its position by acquiring wind energy assets of BP Energy India Pvt Ltd at an enterprise valuation of $95 million (Rs 463 crore).

A host of funds targeting the space are raising money from institutional investors to invest in India. Private equity firm Olympus Capital is raising Asia Environmental Partners LP, a fund targeting $250 million to invest in renewable energy and environmental services companies in Asia. US-based Global Environment Fund and India's Yes Bank are also jointly raising a clean energy fund for South Asia, which is nearing a close of $200 million.

Prithvi Sustainability Innovation and Technology Fund, with a proposed corpus of $150 million, is the newest fund set to make India-centric investments in companies that provide solutions to address air, water and soil contamination.  UK-based Berkeley Energy has raised $74.12 million for its Renewable Energy Asia Fund, which will back renewable energy projects in India and other developing countries in Asia.

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