* VC investment in clean tech rose to $5.1 bln in 2010
* Clean tech garnered 23 pct of total U.S. VC dollars
LOS ANGELES, March 14 (Reuters) - Venture capital investment in U.S. clean technology companies rose 46 percent to $5.1 billion last year after a big decline in 2009, according to a report by research firm Clean Edge released on Monday.
Clean energy companies, which include makers of electric cars, solar panels and biofuels, commanded 23 percent of all U.S. venture capital dollars in 2010, slightly topping the record of nearly 22 percent from 2008.
Total venture capital dollars invested in clean tech set a record of $6.1 billion in 2008, before the financial crisis and economic recession hurt investment.
In 2009, the industry experienced a 42 percent drop in venture capital investments.
The largest U.S. venture deal last year was a $350 million investment in electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place, led by HSBC (HSBA.L).
The remaining nine of the top 10 investments went to thin film solar company Solyndra, solar thermal company BrightSource Energy, electric car maker Fisker Automotive, solar company Amonix, biomass company Kior, thin film solar company Abound Solar, geothermal company Vulcan Power, thin film solar company Miasole and biochemicals company Elevance Renewable Sciences.
Global revenue for photovoltaic solar, wind power and biofuels soared 35.2 percent last year to $188.1 billion, Clean Edge said. That figure is expected to rise to $349.2 billion by 2020, the group said. (Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Carol Bishopric)