Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate-focused VC firm with ties to some of the Earth’s wealthiest individuals, has joined a $44 million bet on solar startup Terabase Energy.
Terabase wants to quickly build new solar farms “on the terawatt scale,” CEO Matt Campbell said in a statement. The startup claims its automated, on-site factory can already speed up plant construction and cut costs by using robotic arms that lift heavy solar panels and connect them to sun trackers. When asked for photos of the inside of the factory, Campbell pointed TechCrunch to previously published aerial photos and declined to share more, “for competition reasons”.
Terabase also makes software tools to manage the design and construction of solar farms. The startup recently completed its first commercial project, with its robots reportedly installing 10 megawatts of panels. There is a million megawatts in a terawatt, so the startup still has a long way to go to realize its ambitions.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was founded by Bill Gates and its board members include Jeff Bezos and Masayoshi Son. The VC firm led the Terabase deal along with Lime and Amp Robotics investor Prelude Ventures.
Their investment comes as rich people are scrutinized for their excessive climate pollution. Gates’ private jet may not be as active as Taylor Swift’s, but the Microsoft co-founder reportedly owns several and calls private flying his “guilty pleasure.”
Other recent deals for solar startups include panel installer Zolar ($105 million) and solar grid developer Okra ($2.1 million).
This post Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy supports Terabase’s robot-built solar farms – TechCrunch
was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/04/bill-gates-breakthrough-energy-terabase-robot-solar-farms/”