Meanwhile, in Germany a giant robotic arm that looks like it escaped from an automotive factory and mated with an Army tank rumbles through a field, plucking 300-pound solar panels from a pallet and installing them on steel racks. The robot is called Momo, and two of them can do the work of the 250 laborers needed to build a 100-megawatt photovoltaic power plant, its creator claims.
Solar power’s race to become competitive with fossil fuel has been aided hugely by the steep price drops in recent years for photovoltaic modules. Down 40% in the past year, PV modules now account for only about a third of the cost of a power plant. That has left developers scrambling for other ways to cut costs. “To be honest, there hadn’t been that much innovation happening,” says Martin Simonek, a solar analyst with research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. “There’re only so many ways you can put panels on the roof or the ground.” So attention turned to such things as streamlining permitting and other paperwork and reducing the number of nuts and bolts needed to assemble a solar array.
Boring. It’s time to welcome our new robotic overlords, as startups like QBotix exploit advances in sensor technology and automation to cut solar power plant costs.
Read the full article at Forbes. How do you see robots helping alternative energy gain a competitive edge in their industry?