There is no doubt 2007 proved to be a record-breaking year when it came to cleantech investments. But just how good was it?

The latest snapshot comes from the Cleantech Group, which said Thursday that venture-capital investments in North America and Europe totaled $5.18 billion for the year.

That's quite a jump from the $3.6 billion the firm tracked in 2006, and the $2.5 billion total in 2005.

North American companies took home the lion's share of the money with $3.95 billion in 268 deals, which reflected a 38-percent rise from the $2.87 billion garnered in 233 deals in 2006.

The average North American deal size also jumped 20 percent, to $14.7 million in 2007 from $12.3 million in 2006, according to the group.

Europe also saw a 34-percent uptick in VC backing last year, growing to $1.23 billion in 105 deals from $915 million in 67 deals in 2006. But the average deal size dropped 14.6 percent to $11.7 million in 2007 from $13.7 million in 2006.

Energy generation raised the most cash in 2007, grabbing $2.75 billion in 172 deals, followed by transportation, which drove home $445 million in 20 deals, and then energy efficiency, which brought in $356 million in 41 deals.

But reports of last year's deals have diverged widely - in part because of differences in trackers' scopes and definitions, according to Rob Day, a principal with @Ventures and the writer of Greentech Media's Cleantech Investing blog (see this Cleantech Investing post, Investment Keeps Growing and Clean-Energy Fundings Reach $117.3B in 2007).

For example, UK-based research group Library House said earlier this week that greentech brought in €712 million (about $1 billion) in European venture capital in 2007, almost double the €317 million invested in 2006.

That's less than the $1.23 billion that Cleantech Group claims, but still not bad in a time when overall venture-capital investments took a 5-percent dip to €5.27 billion in 2007 (about $7.7 billion), according to the group.

And Greentech Media's Venture Power Report, which includes venture-capital deals in the Americas and in Europe, cited $3.4 billion in renewable-energy investments in 2007, up from $2.3 billion in 2006 (see The Week: Green Investments Rise Alongside Temperatures, this Cleantech Investing post and the press release).

Look for more numbers dissecting greentech venture-capital deals in the next few days, when PricewaterhouseCoopers and National Venture Capital Association are expected to release a joint report.

cleantech group chart
Last year, North American and European companies raised more than twice as much venture-capital funding as in 2005.
Source: Cleantech Group