Mortenson deploys robotic pile distribution system to speed up solar project construction

The GPS-enabled system is capable of holding up to 100 steel piles. Image: Mortenson.

Mortenson has partnered with Italian manufacturer Orteco to develop robotic equipment that can accelerate the construction of solar PV plants.

US-based engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider Mortenson said the new autonomous pile distribution system can lower the cost of new solar installations while allowing workers to be redirected to other tasks.

Capable of holding up to 100 steel piles, the GPS-enabled system can operate autonomously to position piles across utility-scale solar sites during construction.

Mortenson also uses semi-automated pile driving technology in solar project construction, a process that requires approximately 50% of the workforce compared to traditional pile driving methods, according to the company.

“When used together, the autonomous pile distribution system and semi-automated pile driving machines help reduce cost and risk of injuries, free much-needed workers for other critical construction tasks and decrease the overall time of delivering solar installations,” Mortenson said in a press release.

Both the autonomous pile distribution system and semi-automated pile driving machine are in use on current Mortenson PV projects in the US.

Last year energy company AES Corporation launched an artificial intelligence-enabled robot to support workers on PV project construction sites by performing the heavy lifting, placing and attachment of solar modules.

Dubbed Atlas, the robot’s artificial intelligence allows it to be trained on different solar structure and panel combinations, according to AES, which detailed the development of the robot in a feature article here.

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