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Solar news: October 5th, 2018

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Elon Musk and Tesla reach a settlement with the SEC, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures finishes up their second round of startup investment.

Elon Musk faces fine, remains Tesla CEO

It’s been a turbulent few weeks for Elon Musk and Tesla, and after a new settlement reached with the SEC, Musk and his company are facing new punishments. After being charged with making “false and misleading statements” on Twitter regarding the securing of funding to take Tesla private, both he and Tesla have reached agreements with the SEC.

First, Musk will pay a $20 million fine and step down as the chairman of Tesla. This agreement allows him to stay CEO of the company as long as he resigns as chairman of the board within 45 days. He also cannot be reelected to the board for three years. Second, Tesla will also pay a $20 million fine to settle claims that they didn’t police Musk’s tweet properly.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures invests in seven more energy companies

Seven lucky energy companies just got some good news. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion fund with investors including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg, announced round two of investments this week.

Among the startups receiving funds is one solar panel company, Zero Mass Water, that has developed solar panels capable of extracting moisture from the air to create drinking water. The devices are still expensive at $2,000 per unit and the water production is low, but the company hopes that with further development and tests, the technology can be used at scale to augment drinking water supplies.

Other investment recipients include Fervo Energy, a geothermal system startup, Commonwealth Fusion System, a fusion power company working with MIT to develop a test device by the mid-2020s, and CarbonCure, a Canadian company creating a technology to include carbon dioxide fixation processes in concrete manufacturing.

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