Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures invests in automated solar construction company Terabase Energy

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Terabase said automated solar construction could unlock Terawatts of new renewable energy, helping to meet decarbonisation goals. Image: Terabase Energy.

US-based start-up Terabase Energy has secured US$44 million in a Series B fundraising round co-led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and venture capital firm Prelude Ventures among others, to drive the commercialisation of its automated solar park construction technology.

The raise sees the total amount accrued by the company soar to US$52 million – it bagged US$6 million in 2020 – and will specifically be used to support the “scalability of solar by building a digital and robotic automation platform for the development, construction and operation of utility-scale PV power plants.”

The California-based company said the raise would enable “full commercial deployment” of its product in 2023.

Terabase said it had “built the first digital platform for managing the full project life cycle of utility-scale solar”, combining it with a construction automation system to “transform the way solar power plants are deployed”.

The company said its “automated field-factory” was able to perform round-the-clock operations and could significantly shorten project construction times, reduce costs and ensure higher build quality, adding the process would “improve worker health and safety” by removing manual lifting of modules and steel components.

“In recent years, the solar industry has been focused on technological improvements of solar panels and other hardware components while the means and methods of engineering and construction have been largely unchanged,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

“This investment is validation of our vision for rapidly deploying solar at the Terawatt scale,” said Matt Campbell, co-founder and CEO of Terabase Energy, which bought a predictive energy modelling tool called PlantPredict from US thin-film module maker First Solar in August of last year.

“It took fifty years for the world to build the first Terawatt of solar, but we need at least 50 additional Terawatts built as quickly as possible to meet global decarbonisation targets,” he added.  

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