Intel Capital Bets $20 Million on China Solar Play

Written by Ucilia Wang

Intel Capital said Tuesday it has made its first cleantech investments in China, which included a $20 million deal for Trony Solar Holdings Co.

Trony, one of China's largest solar energy and wind power equipment makers, plans to use the money for research and development, the Associated Press reported.

The company, founded in 1993 and based in southern China's tech hub Shenzhen, makes conventional silicon and amorphous-silicon thin-film cells, along with inverters, controllers, solar batteries and other equipment.

Intel Capital, the investment arm of computer chip giant Intel ( INTC), also invested in NP Holdings, an electrical power storage company. Intel Capital didn't disclose the amount of investment. It also recently invested in Viewhigh, a healthcare software firm.

Despite the weak economy, Intel Capital has no plans to slow down its investment pace, an Intel Capital executive told reporters in Beijing.

Intel Capital set up a $500 million China fund in April and has since invested in six companies. It has invested more than $7.5 billion in about 1,000 companies in 45 countries since its founding in 1991.

The company invests in a variety of tech companies, from chips to software to Web sites. It has had a keen interest in cleantech and said in June it was spinning off a solar-cell startup, SpectraWatt, and leading a $50 million round for the Hillsboro, Ore., solar company.

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