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A Bill Gates-backed startup is using robots to construct massive solar farms

According to a press release, $44 million will now be invested in the solar startup Terabase Energy by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm that focuses on finding solutions to climate change and is backed by people like Bill Gates.

The venture capital firm, which is well-known for its support of Amp Robotics and Lime, co-led the Terabase deal with investor Prelude Ventures. With this round, Terabase Energy's funding has reached $52 million.

Robotic construction of "terawatt scale" solar farms is the aim of Terabase Energy, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Campbell.

Automation speeds up the construction of solar farms.

Robotic arms lift and attach large solar panels to sun trackers in the company's automated, on-site factory. This computerized production can run 24/7, allowing it to speed up plant construction while lowering costs. Terabase also develops software tools for managing solar farm design and construction.

"This investment validates our vision for rapidly deploying Terawatt-scale solar," Campbell said. "It took the world fifty years to build the first Terawatt (one million Megawatts) of solar energy, but we need at least 50 more Terawatts built as soon as possible to meet global decarbonization targets."

Terabase has been relatively quiet about its technology thus far, despite the fact that it has deployed its services to paying customers. According to reports, the company's first commercial project installed 10 megawatts of panels. A terawatt is one million megawatts, so the startup will have a long road ahead of it to meet its terawatt scale goals. "Our only hope for truly resolving the climate crisis is to deploy clean technologies on a much larger scale, reaching more sectors of the economy than previously. We are excited to be a Terabase partner because the Terabase platform is an exciting innovation for deploying more solar faster "said Sheldon Kimber, CEO of Terabase customer Intersect Power.

Climate change funding from Bill Gates.

Bill Gates founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which has a wealthy and illustrious board of directors that includes Jeff Bezos and Masayoshi Son. The venture capital firm has also recently backed Arizona-based Source Global, a startup that creates water out of thin air. Source Global uses fans to draw in ambient air and a specially designed panel to collect water via condensation.
--Chris Young

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