QBotix, a California-based startup company, has found a way to use robotics technology to increase the efficiency of solar farms while reducing their operating costs. Their novel dual-axis solar tracking system uses tracked robots instead of motors and other equipment to keep solar panels pointed at the sun. QBotix claims its automated approach costs no more than existing single-axis systems while yielding as much as 15% more solar power, or 40% more than with fixed solar panels.
Solar tracking systems are intended to increase the efficiency of large solar installations by keeping the modules aimed at the sun as it moves across the sky. Conventional tracking systems for major solar farms require large numbers of motors and controllers, in addition to large quantities of concrete and steel for support structures.According to Qbotix, its robotic dual-axis tracking system can do the job at lower cost and with less material. In their system a pair of autonomous robots, one primary and one as backup, handle the task of keeping the modules of the solar farm aimed at the sun during the day. Travelling along tracks, the robots successivly adjust the orientations of the solar modules, which are mounted on specially designe racks without individual motors, to optimise solar collection.