General Electric (GE) says that over 100 products have been brought to market since launching its Ecomagination project in 2005. Phase I of its latest Challenge has already resulted in 12 commercial partnerships aimed at developing the next generation of power grid technologies (including the outright acquisition of smart grid technology company FMC-Tech), and now the winners of Phase II: Powering Your Home have just been announced. GE has awarded five innovators US$100,000 each to further develop their technologies and also partnered with ten home energy technology companies.

From a field of over 800 innovation submissions for second phase of its Challenge, GE's panel of judges has chosen five to receive a cash injection to advance the development of the various clean technology concepts - including solar, communications and software and building efficiency technologies. In no particular order of preference, the winners are:

A student run initiative from London called E.quinox that's developing a financially sustainable, off grid, stand-alone renewable energy solution for developing countries.

North Carolina's PlotWatt has produced some promising smart meter analysis software and Suntulit brings a fully-automated residential climate control system that's said to cut utility bills by as much as 30 percent.

Making the most of the Californian sunshine, Pythagoras Solar has developed photovoltaic glass units to replace insulated windows. Exergy has pioneered a new electrochemical compressor that can used in household cooling devices like refrigerators and air conditioning systems and is claimed to reduce energy consumption by up to 65 percent.

In addition to the Innovation Award winners, GE also revealed that it's making an investment of US$63 million in ten home energy technology companies. The new commercial partners are Ember, GMZ Energy, Hara, Nuventix, OnRamp Wireless, Project Frog, SunRun, Viridity Energy, VPhase, and WiTricity.