Robotic Solution Installs Twice as Fast and with Less than Half the Labor
June 17, 2013. Richmond, CAó Alion Energy, an innovative installation and maintenance
unveils ROVER and SPOT, a pair of patented robotic installation and cleaning technologies.
Together, they enable the fastest construction and lowest EPC costs for utility scale solar
while producing more energy than standard fixed-tilt projects.
ROVER, Alion Energy's automated installation vehicle, and SPOT, their robotic cleaning
solution, are part of Alion Energy's groundbreaking service to build utility scale plants 2x faster
than the conventional installation with 50% less labor required.
"Alion Energy has brought the speed, precision and efficiency of robotics to solar," said Mark
Kingsley, CEO of Alion Energy. "Through using robotic installation and cleaning technologies,
we've eliminated flaws that plague the installation process. Now, we can build plants that are
not only the most cost-effective solution within the solar mix, but have a roadmap to deliver
solar electricity at costs that can compete with any generation source."
Rather than continue the solar industry approach to incrementally fix installation inefficiencies
that perpetuate long construction schedules, tied-up capital and power loss, the company
incorporates established construction industry practices to redesign the entire balance of
system, enabling new levels of automation and cost improvement for utility scale solar.
Alion Energy uses extruded concrete rails to replace metal posts, racks and cable trenches.
Powerful adhesives replace all bolts and clips. ROVER, Alion Energy's robotic installation
vehicle, then works with the concrete rail system to carry and mount panels, using a fraction of
the labor while increasing speed and installation quality.
This new installation process eliminates low-skilled tasks including bolt-tightening, ditch-digging
and hauling heavy glass over uneven ground. High-skill tasks including electrical work, concrete
production, machine and robotics operations are maintained or newly created. Local concrete
suppliers are used instead of shipping metal poles and racks from remote sources. Overall,
Alion Energy's construction process elevates the nature of local, solar installation work.
Once installed, SPOT, Alion Energy's robotic cleaning technology, offers simple and
automated cleaning solutions to prevent double digit performance loss due to soiling. SPOT is
programmable to wash panels at any interval and can be activated from a computer, tablet or
smart phone. SPOT can also manage overgrown vegetation by equipping SPOT with
Alion Energy' robotic technologies and construction practices can work with most photovoltaic
and thin film panels to improve LCOE for utility scale projects. The non-penetrating, concrete
rail system and powerful adhesives are ideal for brownfields and landfills where soil can't be
penetrated, damp environments that can corrode metal and high-wind environments.
To learn how utilities can cost-effectively diversify their generation portfolio, how independent
power producers can offer projects with lower LCOEs and how developers can increase
margins with reduced labor costs, visit www.alionenergy.com.