Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation a leader in the design, development, and manufacture of advanced robotic systems, recently announced it has successfully completed final validation of its Outdoor Autonomous Manipulation of Photovoltaic Panels (O-AMPP) project. During this field trial, Sarcos collaborated with BuiltWorlds member Mortenson Construction to achieve this critical project milestone at a Mortenson project site.
“Achieving this market validation and field test milestone is a mission-critical step on our path to commercializing our robotic solar field construction solution and, ultimately, enhancing safety and productivity in the solar field construction industry,” said Kiva Allgood, president and CEO, Sarcos.
“The solar construction industry is facing unprecedented labor shortages while simultaneously facing an increase in demand for solar energy,” said Trent Mostaert, vice president, industrialization, Mortenson. “We believe the O-AMPP system can address these challenges while improving safety, productivity, and efficiency for our workers. It will also enable solar project developers to scale output and production to the levels needed to achieve the Energy Department’s 2030 and 2050 renewable energy goals. We are excited about the possibilities and potential impact of the O-AMPP system in solar construction.”
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), annual solar installations will need to increase by 60% between now and 2030 in order to meet the Biden administration’s climate targets of solar energy reaching 30% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. To meet this solar installation goal, SEIA estimates that an anticipated workforce expansion of nearly 900,000 new workers will be required. Given current labor force limitations—the U.S. solar industry employed approximately 230,000 workers in 2020—and a labor-intensive solar installation process, the solar field construction market represents a potentially massive addressable market for robotic technology.
The O-AMPP project, which began in 2021 with funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), aims to streamline the process of solar field construction into one harmonized robotic system to deliver, detect, lift, and place photovoltaic modules in the field. The benefits for energy companies implementing the system for solar construction include lower soft costs for projects, the ability to engage in more projects simultaneously, improved construction timelines and quality, and a safer worksite that reduces the risk of injuries, including lifting and fatigue-related injuries.
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