AES Launches Atlas Robot to Accelerate Solar Installations

Energy provider AES worked with Cavalry Robotics to develop lifting robot to augment workers in solar facility construction.


Atlas is a mobile robot designed to help lift and place solar panels.
Fortune 500 global energy provider AES worked with Calvary Robotics to develop the Atlas robot to help its teams install solar energy systems and help customers meet sustainability goals.

Advanced technologies such as robotics can help companies, regions, and governments meet environmental sustainability goals. The AES Corp.  yesterday announced the launch of Atlas, a new solar installation robot that it said will make the construction of new solar power facilities faster, more efficient, and safer.

“Stakeholder commitment to a net-zero carbon energy future has never been higher, but our industry risks not being able to achieve this goal if we continue to adopt clean energy at the current pace,” said Chris Shelton, senior vice president and chief product officer at AES. “The AI-enabled, first-of-its-kind Atlas robot automates the construction of new solar resources, enabling a safer work environment, shorter project timelines and lower overall energy costs.”

Arlington, Va.-based AES said it is a Fortune 500 global energy company dedicated to continuous innovation, “while partnering with our customers on their strategic energy transitions and continuing to meet their energy needs today.”

AES develops Atlas with Calvary Robotics

For markets and organizations to stay on track to achieve their net-zero emissions commitments, 455 GW of new solar facilities globally would be required each year through 2030, according to BloombergNEF, which is more than three times the amount of capacity installed in 2020.

“Electricity plays a central role in the net-zero future, and solar energy is an increasingly attractive option as one of the most cost-effective and abundant renewable energy resources,” said AES. The company said its new Atlas robot enables the rapid deployment of new solar resources at scale to help meet the demand for greener energy.  

AES designed Atlas through a multi-year innovation process. It built the mobile robot, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence, in cooperation with Calvary Robotics and other third parties.

“We are proud of the work that we've been able to do with AES in the development of Atlas at our Webster, N.Y., headquarters,” said Michael Marseglia, vice president for robotics and technology at Calvary Robotics. “Calvary is focused on utilizing our expertise in advanced manufacturing to meet customer needs.”

“To achieve this vision, we must rely on our most valuable assets—our talented people working together,” he noted. “We strive to create an environment rich with opportunity for learning, advancement, and personal fulfillment.”

Atlas to complement construction workforce

AES said its teams will use Atlas as a next-generation tool for the construction of new solar projects. “Atlas will complement our skilled workforce by keeping them safe and performing the heavy lifting, placing, and attachment of solar modules while adding new high-tech jobs,” it said.

In addition to Atlas, AES has invested in and co-developed other operations and maintenance innovations to meet solar energy customer needs. They include the following:

  • Deploying solar robots from Ecoppia to automate the cleaning of panels to ensure peak performance
  • Combining solar energy with other technologies to work around the clock for customers through products that guarantee 24/7 clean energy on an hourly basis
  • Investing in 5B's MAVERICK technology, which enables the deployment of solar resources three times as fast to deliver twice the amount of energy on the same amount of land
  • Pioneering the world's first DC-coupled solar plus battery storage solutions providing dispatchable clean energy

AES said it is working to “reimagine solar” and help organizations meet clean-energy and sustainability objectives.

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Atlas is a mobile robot designed to help lift and place solar panels.

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