Schneider Electric, one of the four horsemen of the smart grid, today announced it would buy Summit Energy for $268 million.

Summit specializes in consulting and energy management services for large organizations with somewhat of a concentration in the industrial world. Clients include Eli Lilly, Delphi, and Outback Steakhouse.

Summit, based in Kentucky, will add $65 million in revenue to Schneider's revenue in 2011. Summit is currently EBITA profitable.

Like ABB, Siemens and General Electric, Schneider is an old company -- it was founded in France during the era of Napoleon III -- that has seen its public profile rise with the dawn of the smart grid and interest in finding ways to reduce the amount of power we use to run buildings or manufacture things. The company's revenue came to $27 billion in 2010. Here is a column from Christopher Curtis, who runs the French company's North American operations, about the company's views on efficiency. (That is Curtis in the picture, who seems to oversee Schneider's acquisitions.)

“It is counterintuitive, but the potential for savings is the asset that plays for a capital upgrade,” Curtis told us last November. “The note is paid out of the maturity of the savings. There is no financial outlay. You are financing the note out of the system itself.”

Lately, it has been shopping, too. Back in December, it bought building management startups Vizelia and D5X. And, although Schneider largely makes things that you will never personally buy yourself, it may start to become more of a consumer brand. Last year, it unveiled its first EV charging stations and then this year at Distributech it unveiled its solution for home energy management. A few years ago, you could probably count the number of VCs on Sand Hill Road on one hand who followed Schneider or ABB. Now, those companies represent one of the best paths for an exit. (Side note: EPS, another industrial efficiency specialist, could become an acquisition target, too.)