e.quinox is a student-run initiative to bring cost-effective, renewable energy to developing countries through off-grid, stand-alone photovoltaic systems - a system that uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity.
PlotWatt develops smart meter software that analyzes data to identify energy usage of appliances and provide customized money-saving recommendations via a web dashboard, mobile applications, email and text message.
Pythagoras solar window technology simultaneously delivers energy efficiency and solar energy generation without sacrificing the appearance of a traditional window, enabling the design and construction of more sustainable, economically viable buildings.
Witricity manipulates magnetic fields by transmitting power wirelessly over short distances. This could even help make electric vehicles more popular: you could charge by simply parking over one of the company's devices.
GMZ Energy is a solar systems and services company that makes thermoelectric materials which convert heat into electricity. Their researchers improved the performance of a thermoelectric material by 40 percent by crushing it to form fine, nanoscale powders, then packing the powders to form thin wafers.
San Francisco’s Project Frog designs and builds kits for making buildings more efficient and less expensive. The kits are flexible, so they can be adapted for specific locations and designed to generate as much energy as they consume.
Nuventix is a communications and software company. They’ve developed a method to improve LED efficiency by keeping them from getting hot. Typically LEDs are cooled with heat sinks, but those are bulky. The company has developed a small and quiet air-cooling system —based on the company's demo, it looks a lot like a speaker. A diaphragm quickly forces air through a channel, creating a jet that cools the LED.
VPhase offers a new way to cut home energy use by reducing the voltage that enters a house, while still maintaining the level needed for appliances and electronics to function properly. It's based on voltage regulation used in commercial and industrial settings, but made cost-effective for home use.
Ember is a product of MIT, Ember has been around for more than a decade making ZigBee wireless chips. It has already sold 10 million ZigBee chips, mostly for smart grid applications. This pick by GE is no surprise, since the company has already staked a claim in ZigBee over Wi-Fi for home networking.
Hara is an enterprise software company has a platform that monitors the consumption of water, gas and electricity. Hara already has some heavy hitters, including Apple and News Corp., as customers. We’re not sure how this fits into “Powering Your Home” since it is more of a commercial service, but we’re going to stay tuned.
Instead of mesh networks, On-Ramp Wireless is using a radio star topology network for smart grid applications. This networking company has been gaining traction lately and has just moved into voltage monitoring. Like Hara, we’re not sure how this specifically applies to the home, besides connecting to the smart meter, but we’re going to find out.
One of the only hardware companies on the list, SunRun is a residential solar power service firm. Instead of homeowners buying the panels outright, SunRun owns, installs and maintains the panels while homeowners pay a monthly rate for power while locking in an electric rate for 20 years. The company says it installs more than $1 million in residential PV every day.
Viridity is probably best known as a demand response player, but its software is really about controlling microgrids to play in the power markets. The company is currently focused on institutions, such as the Brooklyn Army Terminal, to network solar and building automation systems, but the idea could potentially be scaled down to the home.
GE partnered with the following venture capital firms on the $200 million ecomagination Challenge. Learn more about GE's VC partners.
Emerald Technology Ventures is a global leader in clean technology venture capital. Founded in 2000, Emerald is a pioneer in the rapidly emerging clean-technology sector and is focused exclusively on innovative technologies in energy, advanced materials and water.
Every partner at Foundation Capital has been an entrepreneur. They have served as CEOs, executive managers and technologists – each with a compelling idea that ultimately resulted in real-world experience directing a company to success. Foundation is a venture capital firm where purpose and people count.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers offers qualified entrepreneurs access to the firm’s portfolio of companies and associations with global business leaders. These relationships are the foundation for strategic alliances, partnership opportunities and the sharing of insights to help build new ventures faster, broader and with less risk.
Rockport Capital is a leading venture capital firm that partners with clean-tech entrepreneurs around the world. They collaborate with management teams to foster growth and create value, building innovative companies that bring disruptive technologies and products to the 21st century.