Can Robots Boost the Allure of Solar Power?

Whether it's drones from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  )  or Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) acquiring Boston Dynamics, its pretty hard these days to not get excited, and maybe a little nervous, about the potential for robotics to help everything from manufacturing to transport. One area that doesn't get too much coverage is the potential for using robots to offset high production costs related to solar panels. That's about to change though. 

Last month SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) , which is testing battery technology to store solar power, bought Greenbotics in a move aimed at cleaning dirt film on solar panels, which lowers power generation ability using less water. So outside of using advanced sensors to track the sun's rotation (something privately held Qbotix is working on), I'd look for the solar space to explore ways they can lower production costs by using robots in the development process, an idea start-up firm Alion Energy, backed by the likes of Sequoia Capital and Global Cleantech Capital, is actively working on. That has me thinking SunPower's use of robotics is only now beginning, and that could mean shares of the solar stock will likely continue to outperform its peers next year. 

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  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2013, at 4:37 AM, doawithlife wrote:

    One of three outcomes.

    1) Star Trekish type of society emerges. Machines product everything our society needs and we focus on things like exploration and cooking good meals (Sisko's Dad).

    2) Even though machines can produce everything we need, we are still basically kept as slaves so someone can feel power over others.

    3) Ever seen what happened to the Light Universe in "Lex"?

    It's not a question of can robots replace all humans workers. It's a question of how we handle it when the time comes.

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