SOLV Energy, a leading solar EPC contractor and solar services provider in the U.S., announced during the TechCrunch Disrupt 2022 Conference in San Francisco today that it has invested in Swap Robotics. Swap Robotics is an autonomous robotics company that provides 100% electric vegetation management services for solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities within the utility-scale market.
Swap Robotics' autonomous vegetation management solution is one of the first products to be specifically designed and optimized for use on PV solar sites. The Swap team pre-maps each site during the initial teaching run, identifying the safest, most efficient cutting path through the project area. Once the robots have mapped out the area, they can run their routes autonomously with remote oversight by supervisory personnel. Swap robots are designed to traverse variable terrain with cutting decks suited to tackle thick grass and woody vegetation that can reach up to two inches in diameter. Their world-first, 100% electric “rough cut” cutting deck can cut thick vegetation that other robotic solutions cannot.
Applying smart solutions to the challenging task of vegetation management supports SOLV Energy's commitment to creating better jobs and better work environments for employees. Autonomous technology reduces maintenance costs and increases performance while lowering the risk of injuries resulting from repetitive and difficult tasks. Remote oversight reduces time spent outside in challenging weather by field technicians and allows for delegation of worker hours to support field teams in remote areas where employees are difficult to hire and retain. The use of all-electric Swap robots also aligns with SOLV Energy's site decarbonization goals, eliminating the need for gasoline powered mowers on site.
“Swap Robotics cutting decks demonstrate an impressive capability to navigate extremely uneven terrain and remove thick vegetation that has posed consistent problems for traditional mowers,” said Tucker Ruberti, Director of Corporate Development & Strategy. “Swap’s robot has been identified by our subject matter experts as the only sufficiently rugged and powerful solution for utility PV use based on over a decade of experience building and managing large-scale solar projects.”
The partnership between SOLV Energy and Swap Robotics accelerates development of innovative technology essential to supporting rapid industry growth in the coming years. As part of a joint agreement, the companies will collaborate on new robotics use-cases on solar sites across the country. SOLV Energy is the largest affiliated operations and maintenance (O&M) provider in the U.S., with over 10 gigawatts under management in 26 states.
“The solar industry is gearing up for huge investment resulting from the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Driving the development of innovative technology is essential to optimizing our capabilities and preparing our workforce for the influx of new projects in a growing number of states,” said George Hershman, CEO of SOLV Energy. “While a partnership with Swap Robotics will allow us to better serve our clients, even more importantly, it supports our people here at SOLV Energy, providing them with additional tools to do their work more efficiently and in safer work environments.”
“We are thrilled to partner with SOLV Energy for nationwide robotic solar vegetation cutting. They offer unparalleled distribution throughout the U.S. for our solar robots and help us to achieve our mission of making outdoor work equipment sustainable through 100% electric robots.” said Tim Lichti, CEO of Swap Robotics. “SOLV Energy quickly understood how solar vegetation cutting robots fit into our long-term vision of creating an outdoor work robotics platform and supported our need to work with all solar asset owners, O&Ms and EPCs to make outdoor work robots accessible to the wider solar industry. We were impressed by the win-win approach of SOLV Energy’s management team, and Swap looks forward to scaling up solar vegetation cutting robots on sites that SOLV manages.”
Swap Robotics’ vegetation management solution is in use on one SOLV Energy O&M site now, with further sites starting in all operating regions over the next six months.
About SOLV Energy
SOLV Energy is a solar services provider for utility solar, high-voltage substation and energy storage markets across North America. We believe that good energy has a ripple effect. That’s why we only take on projects that provide cleaner power, better jobs, greater education and a brighter future for our communities. Backed by a powerful legacy, we’ve branched out to focus solely on renewable energy initiatives. Recognized as an industry-leading solar contractor and O&M services provider, our team has built and manages 10 GW of solar capacity in over 25 states.
About Swap Robotics
Swap Robotics is on a mission to make outdoor work equipment sustainable through 100% electric equipment. We started with sidewalk snow removal robots and quickly became the world leader in the space, having commercialized the world’s first 100% electric robots for sidewalk snow plowing. We shifted our focus to solar vegetation cutting in utility-scale solar power plants by creating the world’s first 100% electric “rough cut” cutting deck. Swap Robotics’ vision is to become an outdoor work robotics platform through our swappable attachments and built-in hydraulics system. Swap Robotics is the robotics partner of choice for solar asset owners, solar O&Ms and solar EPCs that demand the most rugged, versatile robotic platform for their operations.Back to all news