Utilities invest in robotic tracker systems

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Multinational utility E.ON has endorsed the potential of QBotix‘s robotic sun tracker mounting systems by joining a $12 million funding round for the Californian company.

In a Qbotix press release announcing the series B funding round on Wednesday, the company revealed the German energy giant had joined other investors after testing its robotic tracking system (RTS) for ‘over a year’.

The QBotix system, which tilts panels to track the sun, can deliver up to 45% more energy than fixed panels, according to the company’s founder and CEO Wasiq Bokhari.

With Bokhari claiming the technology can generate up to 15% more energy than single-axis tracker systems and can reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility customers by up to 20% E.ON, together with fellow utility Iberdrola, appears to agree.

"E.ON has tested the QBotix RTS for over a year and has evaluated the system’s ability to produce significantly more energy than fixed-tilt and single-axis tracking systems," said Urban Keussen, senior vice president of technology and innovation at E.ON, in Wednesday’s QBotix release. "We believe the QBotix RTS has great potential to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for commercial and utility-scale solar projects."

Basque energy company Iberdrola, which claims to be the ‘world’s largest investor in renewable energy’ with a reported 14.3 GW global renewables portfolio, was also part of the $12 million funding round along with investment houses New Enterprise Associates, Firelake Capital Management and Draper Nexus.