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Cleantech Investment Highlights: Schneider and GoogleSchneider buys China cleantech firm for $650 mlnSchneider Electric SA has agreed to pay $650 million for Leader & Harvest Technologies Holdings Ltd, one of the leading players in the fast-growing medium voltage drives market in China.Schneider was among second-round bidders, along with ABB Ltd , for the private-equity-owned China cleantech asset. Co-owners Affinity Equity Partners and Unitas Capital have earned more than three times their initial investment of around $200 million for the asset they acquired in late 2009. The sale of Leader & Harvest offered global multinationals a rare opportunity to acquire an entire company in China. The Chinese government's emphasis on energy saving, together with the company's distribution network, added to the strong interest in Leader & Harvest. Leader & Harvest, which has more than 750 employees and is headquartered in Beijing, holds a strong position in MV drives in China, which makes up about 40 percent of the global market. Drives can provide energy savings of up to 50 percent for industrial motors, but around 70 percent of the world's medium-voltage motors are not equipped with drives. Schneider Electric recently estimated that energy efficiency would represent an incremental market opportunity of $45 billion annually by 2020, with a large portion coming from new economies such as China. Schneider Electric has been very active in global cleantech opportunities, apart from direct investments and acquisitions; it has also its own attached venture capital fund which invests in cleantech innovations, both start-up operations and established operations. Google Invests $280 Million in Fund to Install Home Solar Panels Google on Tuesday said it is putting $280 million into a fund to finance the installation of rooftop solar panels for homeowners by Silicon Valley startup SolarCity.The clean tech investment, Google’s biggest yet, follows the search giant’s investment in wind farms and BrightSource Energy’s 370-megawatt Ivanpah solar power plant under construction in the California desert.The Google fund will finance solar systems to be deployed over the next two years. Solar installations have soared since companies like SolarCity began offering leases. In fact, 80 percent of the 15,000 solar systems the company has installed to date have been through leases. Google has invested in $680 million to date in various renewable energy projects. Google has been one of the most active investor in the cleantech / renewable energy sectors in 2011, utilizing its expertise in venture capital built in the technology days. Initially, its investments were more related to energy efficiency technologies, it has been expanding its mandate considerably, and it is also becoming a global investor as well.Please check our Global Green Investors Guide on [please contact me for website address] for ideas about venture capital and private equity investors in the Cleantech / Renewable Energy Industry.