QBotix Receives $1M From DoE to Advance Robotic Solar-Panel Technology
Energy Department Funds Development of Solar-Panel Robots: The QBotix tracking system, shown here, is a robotic system for tilting solar panels toward the sun that can increase the output of the panels by up to 15 percent. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company received a $1 million grant by the Department of Energy to advance its technology, funds it will use for future demonstrations and to add support for concentrated photovoltaics to the system, a company spokesman said. (Source: QBotix)
With the latest solar article I did for Design News, it is absolutely clear from the leading suppliers I interviewed that a key design goal is driving cost out of these systems. In many cases given the size of typical larger installations, tracking systems are being applied to a row of panels to drive down costs. Even off-the-shelf PLCs (which should offer a low cost control) are often viewed as too expensive compared to custom controls that offer a specific solution (even if it's not true given development and engineering costs). It's very hard to understand how this robotic approach has much of a chance to further enhance system performance compared to existing tracking solutions.
The government (politicians specifically) do have a measure of how wisely money is spent. It is called re-election. We keep re-electing the same crooks and expect them to spend our tax money wisely???
I am always a skeptic, but if this company can build and prove working prototypes then they are worthy of a little research grant money. But the market should determine the cost effectiveness of their technology and not government mandates (or political donations).
Thanks for your comment, Greg. I agree, there should be some sort of barometer to ensure QBotix and other companies and organizations that have received these grants deliver on what they promise to advance alternative forms of energy.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.