Robots are becoming more sophisticated and useful every day, rendering what was once a science fiction concept a reality. The evolution of robotics has significant implications for the Bay Area solar power industry, which has already begun to see several projects that involve robotic technology as a way to reduce costs and make solar panels more efficient.
A notable example, recently covered by EnergyRealities.org, is a solar panel array located in a prison in Dublin, California, where the Robotic Tracking System (RTS) skims along monorail tracks, adjusting the angle of each solar panel so that it remains in the optimum angle for electricity production. The robot, which was designed by a California startup called Qbotix, travels to each panel and tilts it with a big arm, moving the panel 10 degrees every 40 minutes.
The benefits of such a system derive from its cost efficiency. Tracking systems on solar panels are nothing new, but installing a two-axis tilt system on each solar module so that it follows the movement of the sun is expensive. Such systems require a series of complicated motors and sensors that are fragile and costly. The Qbotix robot, however, replaces all of those motors, allowing the solar panels to produce the maximum amount of energy possible but at a fraction of the cost.
It may be a while before these robots become more common, as solar developers want to be sure that they can provide years of service with minimal maintenance. But the introduction of the Qbotix RTS is a glimpse into the future of more efficient solar power production.
While the widespread adoption of such automation may be a ways off, solar energy itself is a very accessible and proven technology that saves homeowners thousands of dollars on their energy expenses. If you’re curious about how you can take advantage of solar power, contact West Coast Solar today.