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SOLV Energy partners with Swap Robotics to tackle dense vegetation at solar sites

SOLV Energy announced during the TechCrunch Disrupt 2022 conference in San Francisco that it has invested in Swap Robotics. Swap Robotics is an independent robotics company that provides 100% electric vegetation management services for utility scale solar PV facilities.

Swap Robotics’ standalone vegetation management solution is one of the first products specifically designed and optimized for use on solar PV sites. The Swap team pre-maps each site during the initial teaching run, determining the safest and most effective cutting path through the project area. Once the bots identify the area, they can operate their routes independently with remote supervision by moderators. Swapping robots are designed to traverse changing terrain with cutting surfaces suitable for handling thick grass and woody vegetation that can be up to two inches in diameter. The company says its 100% “cut” electric cutting surface can cut through dense vegetation that other robotic solutions can’t.

Implementing smart solutions to the challenging task of managing vegetation supports SOLV Energy’s commitment to providing better jobs and safer working environments for employees. Autonomous technology reduces maintenance costs and increases performance while decreasing the risk of injury from repetitive and challenging tasks. Remote supervision reduces the time field technicians spend abroad in challenging weather conditions and allows working hours to be delegated to support field teams in remote areas where staffing is difficult to recruit and retain. The use of all-electric swap robots is also consistent with the decarbonization goals of the SOLV Energy site, eliminating the need for gasoline-powered mowers on site.

“Swap Robotics’ cutting surfaces demonstrate an impressive ability to navigate extremely uneven terrain and remove the thick vegetation that has caused persistent problems for conventional mowers,” said Tucker Roberti, director of corporate development and strategy at SOLV Energy. “The Swap robot has been identified by our industry experts as the only robust and robust enough photovoltaic solution based on more than a decade of experience building and managing large-scale solar projects.”

The partnership between SOLV Energy and Swap Robotics accelerates the development of the innovative technology necessary to support the industry’s rapid growth in the coming years. As part of a joint agreement, the companies will collaborate on new robotic use cases at solar sites across the country. SOLV Energy is the largest operation and maintenance provider in the United States, with more than 10 gigawatts under management in 26 states.

The solar energy industry is preparing for huge investments resulting from the passage of the law to reduce inflation. George Hirschman, CEO of SOLV Energy, said driving the development of innovative technology is essential to improving our capabilities and preparing our workforce for the influx of new projects in a growing number of nations. “While partnering with Swap Robotics will allow us to better serve our customers and, most importantly, support our employees here at SOLV Energy, providing them with additional tools to do their jobs more efficiently and in safer working environments.”

Swap Robotics’ vegetation management solution is in use at one site for operation and maintenance for SOLV Energy now, with other sites in all areas to start operating within the next six months.

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