Bill Gates-backed Terabase raises $44m to automate solar installations

Bill Gates fund invests in automated solar installation platform Terabase

US startup Terabase Energy has raised $44m (£36m) in a funding round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures to commercialise its technology for automated solar plant construction.

The Series B funding round was co-led by venture capital firm Prelude Ventures and backed by Terabase’s existing investor SJF Ventures and others.

Terabase will allocate the fresh capital to scale up its proprietary digital and robotic automation platform and achieve full commercial deployment next year.

The solution, which the technology firm says is the first of its kind, automates the development, construction, and operation of large-scale solar parks. The platform manages the entire project lifecycle from the point of land acquisition to plant construction, through robotics-assisted workflow.

  • 3D renderings of the new Scott Base © Hugh Broughton Architects

Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, said: “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.

“The way the industry designs and builds large scale projects needs to be rethought if we are to reach the very rapid growth required to meet net-zero goals.

“To enable the Terawatt-scale deployment of solar needed to decarbonize, we believe a breakthrough is needed to transform how PV power plants are built.

“Terabase’s solution has tremendous potential to reduce costs and accelerate the deployment of large scale solar, and we look forward to working with them on that mission.”

Matt Campbell, co-founder and CEO of Terabase Energy, said: “This investment is validation of our vision for rapidly deploying solar at the Terawatt scale.

“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.

“This round of funding will allow us to continue to expand our team and make the investments necessary to achieve our mission.”

Tim Woodward, managing director of Prelude Ventures, added: “Terabase’s software and automation platform allows for developers and EPCs to effectively design and manage their projects from the point of land acquisition to rapid and high-quality construction through automation.

“This is an essential solution for solar to get to Gigawatt-scale projects around the world.”

Image credit: Terabase Energy


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