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Home Solar Energy Built Robotics develops automated pile driver for large-scale solar construction

Built Robotics develops automated pile driver for large-scale solar construction



Built Robotics, construction autonomy company and inventor of the Exosystem, has developed RPD 35, a fully-autonomous solar piling system. RPD 35 is designed to install utility-scale solar foundations faster than manual, traditional means.

A machine resembling a backhoe has picks up a steel beam from a shelf built onto its side.

RPD 35 automated pile driving robot from Built Robotics.

Piling at the heart of every utility-scale solar project. Solar piles are generally steel H-beams, 12 to 16 ft in length and up to 200 lbs in weight. A large-scale solar farm requires tens of thousands of piles to be installed, each of which must be driven into the ground upwards of 8 ft and positioned at an accuracy of less than an inch. Together these piles form the structural foundation of the solar array.

The RPD 35 combines all the steps in the piling process — survey, pile distribution, pile driving, and inspection — into one package. With the RPD 35, a two-person crew can install over 300 piles per day, all while meeting slope tolerances expected from the market. This is achieved through Built Robotics’ construction AI software working in tandem with a custom pile cartridge system and advanced sensors like RTK GPS.

“Solar piling is a tough, repetitive job, one well suited to automation,” said Noah Ready-Campbell, founder and CEO of Built Robotics. “Our piling robots will dramatically improve the efficiency of workers on jobsites, which is critical in the chronically tight construction labor market. And just as importantly, they will take people out of harm’s way, reducing noise exposure, strain, struck-by and pinch hazards.”

Since 2018, Built’s robots have helped to install over 2 GW of solar capacity across the country, enough to power over 400,000 homes. Built is scheduling the first customer deployments of the RPD 35 for Q4 2023.

News item from Built Robotics

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