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Branson Funds Metrolight’s Smart HID Electronic Ballasts

Sir Richard Branson’s venture capital firm Virgin Fuels, along with Gemini Israel Funds, Israel Cleantech Ventures and Israeli investor Altshuler Shaham, is investing $9 million into Metrolight Inc., a Brentwood, Tenn., maker of smart electronic ballasts for high-intensity discharge lamps, The Street reports.

“Metrolight’s products help customers reduce up to 65 percent of lighting energy costs, double lamp life, drastically reduce maintenance costs and take full control of their lighting systems,” according to a company press release.

Metrolight’s ballasts can be controlled by analog devices like motion sensors so that HID lamps turn on and off when needed. For example, parking lot lights managed by Metrolight ballasts could keep the lights dim unless cars are entering or exiting, potentially generating significant cost savings for their owners.

Metrolight’s lamps last twice as long as traditional HID lamps and, according to the article, can be recycled once their lifespan has ended.

In 2006, Branson invested $400 million in Virgin Fuels. He also pledged to donate all profits from his various transportation businesses to the effort to fight global warming – an amount that could exceed $3 billion in 10 years.

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