Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corp.designer, developer and manufacturer of advanced robotic systems, solutions and software Blattner Co., supplier and installer of renewable energy, have entered into a cooperation agreement. The arrangement focuses on the development and refinement of Sarcos’ autonomous mobile robotic system to optimize worker safety and improve the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) module installation in utility-scale solar projects.
“The solar construction industry, like many industries, has experienced significant labor shortages since COVID and has yet to recover,” said Sarcos Interim CEO Laura Peterson. “Our autonomous robotic solar building system is expected to ease these workforce challenges.”
By Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), annual solar installations must increase by 60 percent by 2030 to meet climate goals. To achieve this goal, almost 800,000 new solar workers would be needed. Robotics holds the promise of alleviating labor pressure in this market and improving work safety at the same time.
This dual work is based on the Sarcos Outdoor Autonomous Manipulation of Photovoltaic Panels (O-AMPP) project funded by US Department of Energy and the goal is to streamline the solar field construction process.
The O-AMPP robot system is designed and developed to deliver, detect, lift and place solar modules in the field with the following objectives:
- Improving worker safety and productivity: A smaller team can install modules significantly faster while optimizing safety.
- Improving the speed of construction: Often the most labor-intensive task, the installation of PV modules is done faster.
- Improved installation quality: Robotic handling of modules ensures consistent support and placement when lifting and placing them, reducing module breakage.
Sarcos and Blattner are collaborating to evaluate and further develop the technology, functionality and safety of this system through a series of field trials. Blattner provides funding, expertise and facilities for the research. The companies plan to test the system in varying environmental conditions at different locations in preparation for the commercial launch of Sarcos’ system, which is currently estimated to take place in late 2024.