Stäubli makes bet on robotics to reduce large-scale solar O&M risks

onsight and Staubli

Solar connections often make headlines for all the incorrect ways they can be installed. It is clear the industry’s status quo for inspection is not good enough. So, where do we go from here? Stäubli, the leader in solar PV connection solutions, is putting a sizable investment on a combination of Computer Vision, AI, and robotics to ease the burdens of large-scale solar operations and maintenance (O&M).

In addition to its solar PV products and expertise, Stäubli is a global player in industrial automation. The German company announced a seed round investment in California-based OnSight Technology, which is focused on innovative teleoperations solutions in large-scale PV plants.

“This is a strategic investment for us, and we are thrilled to get involved in the development of OnSight Technology’s cutting-edge solutions,” says Stäubli Electrical Connectors’ Executive President Franco Delvecchio.

Stäubli says it will be sharing its knowledge of solar PV connections and site O&M with OnSight in order to design and develop solutions that mitigate risks and ensuring safe performance and returns in large-scale, ground-mounted PV plants.

“With our proven track record in the photovoltaics industry and our longstanding experience, we feel that it’s our responsibility to invest in the future of safer solar farms,” says Matthias Mack, VP of Renewable Energy at Stäubli. “We are very excited to participate in the development projects of OnSight Technology’s innovative solutions.”

OnSight aims to unlock the true potential of artificial intelligence in streamlining and optimizing solar operations. With this injection of funds, OnSight Technology will strengthen its research and development capabilities and forge strategic partnerships to further refine and enhance their AI algorithms.

Moneta Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm, led the round, with Stäubli. There was additional participation from previous investors, including the Sacramento-based Growth Factory.

“We are grateful to Moneta Ventures, Stäubli, and the Growth Factory for their support,” said Derek Chase, CEO of OnSight Technology. “This round will propel us forward as we continue to innovate and revolutionize the robotics and computer vision landscape for the solar industry.”

“OnSight’s platform will enable the rapidly growing utility solar market to dramatically reduce commissioning and maintenance costs while improving accuracy and asset performance,” said Lokesh Sikaria, Managing Partner of Moneta Ventures. “OnSight’s solution is truly differentiated, as their robots enable data capture beneath the panels, where many equipment failures occur.”

Stäubli’s Original MC4 PV connector is currently the most installed worldwide, connecting more than 50 % of the global PV capacity.

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