qbotix ‘solbot’ image courtesy of qbotix

california start-up qbotix has envisioned the ‘solbot’, a robot which runs on a track positioned alongside solar panels. a magnet helps it locate each station. as it approaches an assembly, it stops and attaches itself to it, then tilts and modifies the angle of the unit towards the sun throughout the course of a day – much like the the behavior of a sunflower – increasing the power output of a single solar panel by 40%.

each lithium battery-powered robot measures approximately 1.5-meters long and 1-meter high, and performs dual-axis adjustments, but at a reduced cost, the same as that of single-axis trackers which comparatively generate less electricity. as the sun moves approximately 10 degrees every 40 minutes, the ‘solbot’ is designed to manage up to 200 panels in 40 minutes (this can be increased for larger solar farms), before it begins its round on the track again re-orienting the cells according to the sun’s position – as one robot moves along its path, another is charging in a docking station. outfitted with a GPS, sensors and wireless connection, the ‘solbot’ is able to collects data on the performance of these units, relaying data back to the owner.

qbotix is selling each system in 300-kW units which includes a robot, a back-up robot, steel track and stands for mounting the solar panels.

qbotix robot maximizes solar panel output the ‘solbot’ mechanically adjusts solar panels towards the sun, maximizing their output image via

qbotix robot maximizes solar panel output ‘solbot’ as it enters a docking station to charge up image via

qbotix robot maximizes solar panel output rendering of the qbotix ‘solbot’ dual-axis tracing system

mechanics of the ‘solbot’ by qbotix video courtesy of CNET

via CNET, forbes