SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) has figured out how to operate more efficient solar farms: using drones and robots coupled with smart computer software.
The company this week announced a set of new tools and ideas aimed at reducing design and labor expenses of its solar farms. CEO Tom Werner said that the tools they have come up with can cut solar costs by 30%. With that, SunPower believes it has increased its advantages to survive in an industry that has recently become brutally competitive.
“We are in a transition period in the solar industry where the strongest companies are going to separate themselves from the rest of the pack,” Werner said.
Not only is SunPower trying to boost the efficiency of its solar farms, but it is also working to minimize the impact of the farms on the environment. The company’s new tools will improve designing, building, operating and monitoring of solar farms that sell solar energy to large companies and utilities.
The rise of solar farms
As solar farms grow popular around the world, developers of those projects, regulators and environmentalist communities are finding new challenges to address. Because solar farms cover sprawling ground area, they interfere with wildlife. Furthermore, solar farms are increasingly taking up large tracks of land to the point that developers are having a difficult time expanding their projects as governments limit the size of land that can be used for solar farms.
Amid the challenges, SunPower sees opportunity and it has been betting on innovation to take advantage of the opportunity. As such, the new tools that SunPower has come up with, such as drones and robotics, will enable the company to build compact solar farms and complete those projects quickly without compromising efficiency. The new solar farm ideas that SunPower has come up with will also ensure solar production, agricultural land and wildlife can coexist peacefully.
SunPower will be using drones to determine the most efficient and low-cost solar farm designs. Robots will help with cleaning of solar panels in the sprawling farms, thus cutting the costs of maintaining a solar farm.
SunPower stock rose 2.5% to $8.25 in the last session. The stock is down more than 72% YTD.