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NextEnergy scores $500K grant from New Economy Initiative

The New Economy Initiative for Southeastern Michigan is investing $500,000 into NextEnergy, along a number of other investments in local non-profits.

The $500,000 grant is meant to help accelerate development of vehicle electrification and energy efficiency by upgrading the labs and testing platforms at Next Energy's research & developement space. The 45,000-square-foot laboratory and exhibition space will work on developing, testing, validating and demonstrating advanced energy technology.

"It provides the most impact in the technology development and commercialization work," says Jim Saber, vice president of business & technology development for NextEnergy. For example, that work includes electric vehicle-to-grid technologies, like wireless charging and integrating renewable energy sources into powering electric vehicles.

The grant will also go toward electric efficiency programs, including Project Next Home. NextEnergy plans to have a modular home delivered to its campus in New Center in August. That home will serve as a platform to test energy-efficiency and renewable-energy technologies.

"This will be a really unique platform for companies to get real-world data on how their technologies work," Saber says.

Next Energy is a nonprofit based next to TechTown. The 10-year-old organization is an incubator of sorts for renewable energy technology and businesses, serving as an honest broker for which technologies have the best odds of advancing. More than $50 million in technology development grants have passed through its eight labs. It currently employs 22 employees and three interns after making three new hires over the last year.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan is a part of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's efforts to improve Metro Detroit's economy. The $100 million economic development initiative is supported by 10 foundations. It recently made a number of grants to local non-profits, including awarding $150,000 to the Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit in New Center to establish Mosaic as the arts organization in residence at the new University Prep Science & Math Elementary School.

Source: Jim Saber, vice president of business & technology development at Next Energy
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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