Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a climate change solution-focused VC firm that is supported by the likes of Bill Gates. It has joined a $44 million backing of solar startup Terabase Energy, a press statement reveals.
The VC firm co-led the Terabase deal alongside investor Prelude Ventures and is known for its backing of Amp Robotics and Lime. The round brings Terabase Energy’s total funding to $52 million.
According to the company’s co-founder and CEO, Matt Campbell, Terabase Energy’s goal is to build “terawatt scale” solar farms using robots.
The firm’s automated, o-site factory uses robotic arms that lift and attach large solar panels to sun trackers. This automated production can run 24/7 which enables it to accelerate plant construction while cutting construction costs. Terabase also builds software tools for managing the design and construction of solar farms.
“This investment is a validation of our vision for rapidly deploying solar at the Terawatt scale,” Campbell said. “It took fifty years for the world to build the first Terawatt (one million Megawatts) of solar, but we need at least 50 additional Terawatts built as quickly as possible to meet global decarbonization targets.”
Terabase’s first commercial project was reported to have installed 10 megawatts worth of panels. As a point of reference, there are one million megawatts in a terawatt, so the startup will have a long road ahead to meet its terawatt scale goals. “Our only hope to truly solve the climate crisis is to deploy clean technologies at a much larger scale to reach different areas of the economy than before. The Terabase platform is an exciting innovation to deploy more solar faster, and we are delighted to be a Terabase partner,” said Sheldon Kimber, CEO of Intersect Power, a Terabase customer.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was founded by Bill Gates, and it has a notable set of board members like Jeff Bezos and Masayoshi Son. The VC firm recently also backed Arizona-based Source Global, a startup that draws water out of thin air. Source Global draws in ambient air using fans and collects water through condensation using a specially made panel.
Gates recently announced he aims to gradually erase himself from the world’s richest list and that he will start by donating $20 billion of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF).
The Microsoft founder has spent much of his wealth backing climate change solutions and startups. However, his track record was recently questioned by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.