The U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday it would help electrify efforts to bring energy-efficient lighting to market with up to $20.6 million.

Receiving the government's financial plug is a mix of 13 companies and research institutions. And since industry is expected to share in the costs, investment in the projects is expected to total $28 million.

The projects are aimed at advancing solid-state lighting, a technology that creates light with less heat than incandescent and fluorescent lamps.

Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, solid-state lighting uses a semiconducting material to convert electricity directly into light. The approach is known to improve light's energy efficiency.

It's not like such technology isn't already on the market. Think light-emitting diodes that light up digital alarm clocks and flat-screen televisions.

But the DOE thinks the sector can do much more, like double the efficiency of lighting systems.

Companies like Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Add-Vision and Green Island, N.Y.-based Crystal IS are among those to score the government's backing (For a complete list of companies and projects click here).

But energy efficiency isn't the only cleantech sector to see funds pour in lately. Below, check out a list of deals that went down over the last week.

Private

  • Solar-cell developer Suniva bagged $50 million last week in a second round of funding to expand its business and build a manufacturing plant in Georgia (see Solar Startup Suniva Snags $50M). In total, the Atlanta-based startup has raised $55.5 million in two rounds of venture capital. Investors include New Enterprise Associates and Advanced Equities, which co-led the financing, as well as the Goldman Sachs Group's subsidiary Cogentrix Energy, H.I.G. Ventures and Quercus Investments.
  • Solar-concentrating company Infinia Corporation said Monday it had snagged $50 million in a second round of financing for the commercial launch of itssolarsystems that draw on engine technology to convert heat from the sun into electricity (see Infinia Gets $50M for Engine-Powered Solar). GLG Partners led the round. Additional backers included Khosla Ventures, Wexford Capital, Vulcan Capital, EQUUS Total Return, Idealab and Power Play Energy. In total, Infinia has raised $59.5 million.
  • German thin-film solar developer Odersun raised €40 million ($58.34 million) in a second round of financing, according to a Monday posting on Greentech Media's Cleantech Investing blog. Virgin Green Fund led the round. Additional backers included PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, AGF Private Equity DHTV and Advanced Technology & Materials. Funding will go to help Odersun build a second manufacturing plant.
  • Seven Seas Water, a St. Thomas, Virgin Islands-based company that desalinates water -- or makes salty water drinkable -- for Caribbean towns and resorts, has raised $20 million in venture funding, VentureWire reported Tuesday (also see this VentureBeat post). TPG Growth and DFJ Element led the round, with Virgin Green Fund, Advent-Morro Equity Partners and CEO Doug Brown contributing.

 

Funds

  • Advanced Technology Ventures said last week it had closed its eighth fund at $303 million. The venture-capital firm, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and Waltham, Mass., has invested in cleantech companies, along with Internet, communications and healthcare firms (see More Money for Greentech).

 

Public

  • Moser Baer, a New Delhi-based technology and data-storage manufacturing company, said Monday it plans to inject a $1.5 billion investment into subsidiary company PV Technologies Limited India, which produces thin-film solar panels. The money will be used to increase production capacity of thin film to 600 megawatts by 2010. Current production levels reside at 40 megawatts, said Moser Baer, a company that trades on the Bombay Stock Exchange (see Moser Baer to Pump $1.5 Billion into Thin Film).