Bill Gates-backed startup is using robots to build enormous solar farms

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Automation accelerates solar farm construction

The firm's automated, on-site factory uses robotic arms that lift and attach large solar panels to sun trackers. This computerized production can run 24/7, allowing 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 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 has been relatively secretive about its technology so far, though it has deployed its services to paying customers. The company's first commercial project reportedly 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.

Bill Gates' climate change funding

Breakthrough Energy Ventures was founded by Bill Gates, and it has a wealthy and illustrious group of board members, including 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 via condensation using a specially made panel.

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