Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate-focused VC firm with ties to some of the planet’s wealthiest individuals, has joined a $44 million bet on solar startup Terrabase Energy.
Terabase wants to quickly build new solar farms “at the terawatt scale,” CEO Matt Campbell said in a statement. The startup says that with the automated site, the factory can already speed up plant construction and cut costs by employing robotic equipment that connects heavy solar panels to solar trackers. When asked for photos of the factory’s interior, Campbell pointed to previously published aerial images by TechCrunch and declined to share more for “competitive reasons.”
Terabase makes software tools to manage the design and construction of solar farms. The startup has completed its first commercial project, with the robots reportedly installing 10 megawatts worth of panels. There’s a million megawatts in a terawatt, so the startup still has a long way to go to reach its ambitions.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was founded by Bill Gates and its board members include Jeff Bezos and Masayoshi Son. The VC firm co-led the Terabase deal with Lime and Amp Robotics investor Prelude Ventures.
Their investment comes when wealthy people see excessive climate pollution. Gates’ private jet may not be as active as Taylor Swift’s, but the Microsoft founder owns several and calls private flying a “guilty pleasure.”
Other recent solar startups include panel installer Zolar ($105 million) and solar grid developer Okra ($2.1 million).