Heliogen | December 10, 2021
Heliogen, a leading provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar power, today announced a new technological breakthrough in the production of low-cost renewable energy. In field tests at Heliogen’s Lancaster, California facility, the Company successfully completed the first technical demonstration of an autonomous field maintenance system, Heliogen’s Installation & Cleaning Autonomous Robot & Utility Solution, or ICARUS. By bringing the same advanced technologies that enable its AI-enabled concentrated solar power systems to the task of installing and maintaining those systems, the Company’s latest innovation is expected to significantly reduce the time to deploy its concentrated solar facilities, as well as the costs associated with construction and ongoing maintenance.
Heliogen’s concentrated solar facilities employ arrays of mirrored heliostats that require upkeep and cleaning to ensure peak optical performance and a high level of energy generation efficiency. With traditional solar plants, conventional manual cleaning methods are expensive and labor-intensive, and as such, are only completed once every few months. To improve cost savings and operational efficiency, Heliogen designed the ICARUS system, which utilizes GPS, ultrasonic rangefinders and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors for completely autonomous operation, while also collecting performance data to achieve operational and cost efficiency for the entire lifecycle of the mirror field. The ICARUS system is designed to autonomously clean a field of mirrors on a predetermined schedule, keeping the system at peak performance with minimal human intervention required.
In addition to cleaning and maintenance operations, ICARUS can also be used to reduce the cost of system installation by autonomously delivering heliostats from an assembly or inventory location to the field and installing them with an accuracy of up to two centimeters. The ICARUS system can then record and transmit the installation position to the field model, improving the accuracy of the field control software and removing the need for expensive calibration. Heliogen’s future solar plant installations developed with ICARUS could be built around the clock, day or night, with computer-vision precision and with minimal physical labor.
ICARUS is designed to handle both structured and unstructured environments, maneuvering through varying topographies with ease. The system also has built-in obstacle detection and avoidance, so anything that suddenly appears in its path – whether people, animals, or debris – will be recognized and automatically avoided.
Heliogen has pioneered the unique combination of hardware and software to drive up performance and drive down the costs of its concentrated solar systems. By taking advantage of huge boosts in processing power due to the advances of Moore’s Law, AI, computation, and computer vision, Heliogen aims to make solar energy more affordable than ever before. This first technical demonstration of ICARUS is a leap forward in realizing Heliogen’s mission to replace fossil fuels with concentrated sunlight – cost-effectively and at scale."
Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Heliogen
Heliogen’s breakthrough concentrated solar energy system utilizes AI to precisely align its mirrors with unprecedented accuracy, delivering carbon-free energy in the form of heat, power, or green hydrogen fuel. Harnessing the same advancements in AI and automation, ICARUS is designed to streamline the installation and maintenance of Heliogen’s future full-scale concentrated solar plants to bring down the cost of renewable energy for commercial and industrial applications. ICARUS is expected to be deployed across Heliogen’s full-scale facilities by 2023.
Heliogen is a renewable energy technology company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in heavy industry and powering a sustainable future. The company’s AI-enabled, modular concentrated solar technology aims to cost-effectively deliver near 24/7 carbon-free energy in the form of heat, power, or green hydrogen fuel at scale – for the first time in history. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator founded by Bill Gross in 1996.
Maxeon Solar Technologies | June 07, 2021
Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd., a world leader in solar innovation and channels, announced a significant new flagship installation today. Maxeon's advanced solar technology will power the newly constructed international logistics hub of the global luxury group Kering, which handles the development of several renowned Houses in Fashion, Leather Goods, Jewelry, and Watches. The installation in Trecate, Northern Italy, is expected to be one of Europe's largest rooftop PV systems once completed in August 2021, with a peak output of 12.7 megawatts (MW).
The Trecate rooftop array, which will be installed on two adjacent buildings, will span a total area of more than 55,160 square meters. Maxeon estimates that the project will offer over 13.5 GWh of clean power and reduce more than 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, with over 31,000 SunPower brand solar panels providing a total of 12.7 MWp when completed. The hub is designed to be energy positive, producing more energy than it consumes.
Techbau, a sustainable building developer and general contractor, selected SunPower Premier Partner Kennew, with headquarters in Bergamo, Italy, to design and install the solar system featuring SunPower Maxeon solar panel technology.
About Maxeon Solar Technologies
Maxeon Solar Technologies is a company that is Powering Positive Change. Maxeon, headquartered in Singapore, designs and manufactures Maxeon® and SunPower® brand solar panels and has sales activities in over 100 countries, including several outside the United States under the SunPower brand. With over 1,000 patents and two best-in-class solar panel product lines, the company is a solar innovation leader. Through a network of over 1,200 trusted partners and distributors, Maxeon products are available in the global rooftop and solar power plant markets. Maxeon is a pioneer in sustainable solar manufacturing, with a 35-year history in the solar industry and numerous awards for its technology.
FirstEnergy Corp | September 19, 2020
FirstEnergy Corp. utilities have sent 190 line workers and support personnel to Mobile, Alabama, to assist Alabama Power with restoration efforts following Hurricane Sally. Crews began leaving for Alabama Thursday, with all expected to begin work Saturday morning. Hurricane Sally made landfall Wednesday on the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 storm, with sustained winds of 100 mph. Heavy rain also has produced flooding in many areas, with many roads and bridges closed or impassable. This support effort continues FirstEnergy's long-standing tradition of assisting other electric companies during large-scale power outages. FirstEnergy crews recently returned home after providing power restoration assistance to utilities in Texas and Louisiana following Hurricane Laura in late August.