Venture firms and strategic investors in cleantech started 2012 off strong with five investments so far in the first week of the year:

Transphorm received $5,500,000 from Foundation Capital, Google, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lux Capital, and Soros Fund Management as per a regulatory filing, bringing the total round to $30.5 million. Transphorm announced a $25 million round in June of 2011. The firm is building an energy-efficient gallium nitride (GaN) power conversion module; the latest funding brings the total capital raised from all rounds to $63 million. Gallium nitride power conversion is not a new field. What Transphorm has to do is figure out how to do it at scale, inexpensively, while charting an independent intellectual property course. Transphorm is addressing motor drives, power supplies and inverters for solar panels and electric vehicles. 

Ascent Solar of Thornton, Colorado (NASDAQ:ASTI), a developer of flexible CIGS solar panels, just announced that TFG Radiant will increase its ownership in the solar panel manufacturer to approximately 41 percent. TFJ Radiant looks to address
"rooftop and portable power applications in East Asia.”

SoCore Energy of Chicago, Illinois raised $3 million of a proposed $6 million round according to a new SEC filing. Previous funding for the solar installer and financier has come from Merrick Ventures, the Illinois Innovation Accelerator Fund, The Glen E. Tullman Family and The William Wrigley Jr. Family Fund.

Renmatix of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania raised $50 million in a round C led by BASF with $30 million along with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, et al.  Renmatix has a method of producing industrial sugar from lignocellulosic biomass (wood, cane trash or straw). According to the firm, the Renmatix technology splits biomass into "cellulose and sugar in supercritical water at high temperature and pressure in a two-step process."

Actagro received an undisclosed sum from GE Antares Capital, Madison Capital Funding, Norwest Equity Partners, and Norwest Mezzanine Partners, according to peHub. Actagro manufactures organic liquid and specialty plant nutrients.

Tags: ascent solar, cigs, feedstock, finance, foundation capital, kleiner perkins, kp, pv, solar, solar panels, thin film, transphorm, vc, venture capital