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GE's next Ecomagination challenge: Home energy

At CES, General Electric sponsors an entrepreneurial challenge to gather and fund the best ideas focused on home energy management and on-site power production.

LAS VEGAS--General Electric today said the next phase of its $200 million entrepreneurship challenge will focus on home energy management.

GE at the Consumer Electronics Show said that the contest, called "Ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home," will begin January 18 and run through to March 1.

In July, GE launched the first phase of the contest with four venture capital companies to seek out business ideas for modernizing the grid from the general public. In November, it said it will provide grants or invest directly in several power grid-related companies, covering everything from way-out ideas such as solar-powered roadways to software to make data centers more efficient.

Technologists and entrepreneurs can submit ideas for home energy management, which will be judged by a panel of experts, GE employees, and investors. Winners can get a direct investment from GE, a $100,000 innovation award, or simply recognition from GE.

GE was prompted to create a category in home energy based on the first contest, for which more than 1,000 ideas in that area were submitted, according to a company blog.

The business or technology ideas could touch on home energy efficiency, management, or on-site power production through solar, wind, hydro, or biomass energy, according to GE.

At CES, GE has made digital energy the showcase of its booth, which shows its Nucleus home energy management system, electric-vehicle charging ports, connected appliances, solar panels, and a small wind turbine for individual homes.