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. 

John Licata has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow John on Twitter @bluephoenixinc. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.