Autonomous Robots Promise to Reduce Costs of Solar Energy Production

After showing off its innovative product to investors for more than nine months, California-based startup QBotix is preparing to release its so-called solar robots next month, autonomous machines that promise to cut the cost of producing solar electricity by up to 20 percent.

Solar energy plants around the world currently use either single-axis or dual-axis tracking systems to rotate photovoltaic solar arrays in order to keep them pointing towards the Sun throughout the day and the year, helping them to boost electricity production by as much as 45 percent in comparison to arrays that use no tracking system at all. While reliable and effective, these types of tracking systems are expensive; because each individual array must contain a motor and other moving parts, the energy cost that each system demands is high.

Enter the QBotix solar robot, a single battery-powered machine that can manage the rotation of up to 200 arrays at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems, yet so efficient that it is able to significantly boost energy production while reducing operating costs.

Consumer Energy Report

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5 responses to “Autonomous Robots Promise to Reduce Costs of Solar Energy Production

  1. Exactly what does this robot do that cannot be accomplished by a clock drive and equatorial mount similar to those that amateur astronomers have been building from scratch since the late 1600′s?

  2. And these robots can service those 200 arrays quickly enough so as to make using the robot to aim worthwhile? If it’s battery-powered, it’s not going to be really quick running around on that rail. Even at a generous 30 seconds per array to move to each and aim it, you’re still talking over an hour and 30 minutes to complete one pass, by which time, the Sun will have moved – a lot (and enough to matter). Might be better off finding a way to use robots to keep the arrays clean.

  3. The whole premise is misleading when you are talking about solar that is only about 8% efficient on a good day. A 45% increase isn’t much better.

  4. Shows what can be done when people have more money than good sense.

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