Blattner solar projects to serve as testbed for Sarcos panel-installing robotics

Renewable energy EPC Blattner has signed an agreement with Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corp. to develop and improve Sarcos’ autonomous mobile robotic system designed to optimize worker safety and increase the efficiency of solar panel installations for utility-scale solar projects.

“Like many industries, the solar construction industry experienced significant labor shortages following COVID-19 and has yet to recover,” said Laura Peterson, interim president and CEO of Sarcos. “Our autonomous robotic solar construction system is expected to alleviate these workforce challenges while improving overall safety and speed in the solar installation process.”

Sarcos Robotics – A Solar Solution with Blattner Company from Sarcos Robotics on Vimeo .

Robotics technologies are becoming critical to global efforts to increase solar power generation given the labor shortage and labor-intensive solar installation process. According to SEIA, annual solar installations will need to increase by 60% by 2030 to meet climate goals, which would require about 800,000 new solar workers to meet this goal. Robotics promises to increase worker productivity to alleviate labor pressures in this market while improving job security. Blattner is committed to finding safe and effective solutions to meet the aggressive climate goals outlined while providing a positive and healthy work environment for its growing project teams. This cooperation aims to meet the objectives of both parties.

“We are extremely optimistic about the use of robots in solar construction to help address labor shortages, productivity and safety challenges currently slowing the progress of US solar initiatives,” said Matt Hudsell, senior manager of innovation and development at Blattner. . “We are committed to working with Sarkos to improve their autonomous robotic solar construction system so we can be one step closer to achieving our nation’s clean energy goals.”

This effort will also build on the Sarcos Outdoor Autonomous Manipulation of Photovoltaic Panels (O-AMPP) project, which is funded by the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technology Office (SETO) and aims to simplify the process of building a solar field. . A robotic system is designed and developed to deliver, locate, lift and install PV modules in the field with the aim of:

  1. Improving worker safety and productivity. The O-AMPP system will allow a smaller installation team to install modules at significantly higher speeds while optimizing safety.
  2. Improvement of construction speed. The O-AMPP system will allow a faster installation speed of PV modules, which is often the most labor-intensive task when building a PV site.
  3. Improvement of installation quality. robotic module handling will ensure that when modules are assembled and installed, they are consistently secured and installed, resulting in less module breakage.

Sarcos and Blattner are collaborating to evaluate and further refine the technology, functionality and safety of this system through a series of field trials over the next several years, during which Blattner will provide funding, expertise and testing capabilities. The companies intend to test the system through various environmental conditions at various locations in preparation for the commercial launch of the system by Sarcos, which is currently estimated at the end of 2024.

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