Sarcos and Blattner Enter into an Agreement to Develop Revolutionary Robotic Solar System

By Sophia Francise

July 20, 2023

Blattner Company and Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation revealed that they had signed a cooperative pact. 

The collaboration centers around creating and improving Sarcos’ autonomous mobile robotic framework, which is intended to maximize worker safety and improve the effectiveness of PV module installation for utility-scale solar projects.

“Like many industries, the solar construction industry is experiencing significant worker shortages post-COVID and has not yet recovered,” said the Interim President and CEO of Sarcos, Laura Peterson

Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation is a leader in designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced robotic systems, solutions, and software that redefine human possibilities.

On the other hand, Blattner Company is an industry-leading provider and installer of renewable energy solutions

“Our autonomous robotic solar construction system is expected to ease these workforce challenges while improving overall safety and speed in the solar installation process,” she added.

The Growing Demand for Robotic Solutions in the Solar Industry

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), annual solar installations must increase by 60% through 2030 to meet climate targets.

The solar and storage businesses would also need to hire 800,000 more workers to reach a total workforce of more than 1 million people in order to reach 30% of all electricity generation.1

Given the labor shortage and labor-intensive nature of the solar installation, robotic technology is becoming increasingly important to the global push to enhance solar power generation.

Robotics has the potential to increase worker productivity to ease labor shortages in this industry while also enhancing workplace safety. 

Blattner seeks safe, effective solutions to meet climate targets while fostering a positive work environment for project teams. 

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“We are extremely optimistic about the use of robots for solar construction to help address the workforce shortages, productivity, and safety challenges that are currently slowing down the progress of U.S. solar initiatives. We are committed to working with Sarcos to refine their autonomous robotic solar construction system so that we can be one step closer to achieving our nation’s clean energy goals,” said the Senior Manager-Innovation and Development at Blattner, Matt Hadsell.

What Does the Collaboration Mean to Sarcos? 

The partnership will further improve the scope of Sarcos Outdoor Autonomous Manipulation of Photovoltaic Panels (O-AMPP) project, which is supported by the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) of the U.S. Department of Energy. The project aims to streamline the process of solar field construction. 

The robotic system is designed to deliver, detect, lift, and place PV modules in the field while aiming for efficient field operations.

The O-AMPP system enhances worker safety and productivity by allowing smaller installation teams to install modules at higher rates.

The O-AMPP system will also improve construction speed by accelerating PV module installation, reducing labour-intensive tasks in PV site construction.

Finally, it aims for improved installation quality through robotic module handling, ensuring consistent support and positioning, reducing breakage and ensuring consistent module placement.

The Sarcos and Blattner collaboration will refine the technology, functionality, and safety through field trials, with Blattner providing funding, expertise, and facilities for testing.

The companies plan to test Sarcos’ system under various environmental conditions before its commercial launch, slated for late 2024.

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Sarcos and Blattner’s innovative solar energy installation efforts will shape the industry’s future and determine automation and workforce evolution potential, shaping the industry’s future.

References

  1. Sarcos, ‘Sarcos and Blattner Company Sign Agreement for Development of Autonomous Robotic Solar Construction System,’ 19 July 2023, https://www.sarcos.com/press-releases/sarcos-and-blattner-company-sign-agreement-for-development-of-autonomous-robotic-solar-construction-system/[]
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