China’s role in 2nd quarter greentech figures

While China remained the biggest investor in clean energy projects, its funding fell 11 percent to $12 billion from the first three months of the year, according to Angus McCrone, the chief editor at BNEF in London, who said this year is likely to be another promising one for clean energy investment — both for new capital and wider funding, such as refinancing and M&A. However, 2011 will “need to be a strong performer” and see a ramp up in small-scale clean energy projects if it is to exceed the $243 billion in total investment last year, he said.

What to make of the second quarter’s schizophrenic greentech activity? We saw near-record investment in utility-scale clean energy projects but falling valuations for clean energy stocks; big investments in solar thermal projects but struggling markets for solar photovoltaic systems; rising private equity green investment while green VC took a slide.

That’s a lot of conflicting information to work through, but there’s a common thread running through it all: China. The country that has provided the world’s key growth engine for clean energy and green technology over the past few years has begun to see some weakness, and that’s causing ripple effects through the global green economy. In my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required), I delve into some of the second-quarter figures and related news that point to a slide in China’s preeminence in big greentech investment, and what that may mean for the sector as a whole.