While finance institutions are struggling as a result of the collapsing US house market and falling oil prices, the Cleantech Group has reported record global investment in renewables.

In the quarter to 30 September, global investment in the clean technology sector was up by 37% over last year and by 17% over the previous quarter.

Most of the funding went to thin film solar businesses, algae companies and start-ups developing smart grid hardware and software.

The big investors in the sector included Rockport Capital, Google, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Khosla Ventures. 42 percent of global clean technology investment was in companies based in California.