Solar robotics startup QBotix raises $12M from massive power companies

Gigaom

Like every other industry on the planet, the solar sector is increasingly turning to robotics. On Wednesday a startup called QBotix — which uses robots to tilt solar panels to face the sun as it moves across the sky — announced that it’s raised $12 million in funding in a round led by huge global energy companies E.ON and Iberdrola.

Small rooftops solar systems don’t conventionally use trackers, and are just positioned on rooftops in the optimal angle to convert the most sunlight possible. Larger systems that are built by utilities and companies on the ground — like Apple’s solar farms — use technology called trackers to tilt the panels to get as much electricity out of them throughout the day as possible.

QBotix test site in Menlo Park

Trackers commonly use motors to tilt the panels, and there’s generally two types of solar trackers, dual-axis trackers — which make finer tilts and are more expensive…

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