The robots are coming…to our solar sites! This spring, Sol Systems installed robotic mowers at its 1 MWac project in Rock Falls, Illinois to assist with vegetation management.  

As is common with solar projects, we must properly manage onsite vegetation (a fancy way of saying mow the grass) in compliance with the City.  Sol regularly reviews different vegetation management options for our projects, which, in addition to traditional grass mowing, now include recent industry innovations such as native habitat, sheep grazing, and robotic mowers. 

For Rock Falls, Sol Systems collaborated with the Langton Group, the Midwest arm of Automated Outdoor Solutions, to deploy robotic mowing solution at the site. Each of the five robotic mowers managing the site runs up to ten hours a day, mowing its section of the six-acre project. The mowers are self-sufficient and can dock in their stations to charge as needed. The mowers’ constant maintenance means that site vegetation is always under 6 inches in height. 

Ultimately the decision to proceed with robots came down to a combination of sustainability, economics, and a desire to better understand how robots would perform in the field. Although the robotic mowers are not 100% carbon neutral, they were the most effective and most sustainable solution to properly manage the project. We’re always excited to incorporate a new strategy to our vegetation management portfolio, which includes a growing number of pollinator habitats and now, robots. 

About Rock Falls 

Sol Systems installed the Rock Falls project in late 2020 with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). Through a 20-year power purchase agreement, Sol Systems developed the project with zero upfront costs and helps IMEA place solar on the grid while diversifying its energy supply. This 1 MWac ground mount project spans over 6 acres on the city’s land and produces approximately 1,780,200 kilowatt hours each year, providing enough power to serve 170 Rock Falls residents. This project helps IMEA offset 850 tons of carbon each year. 

About Sol Systems 

Sol Systems is a leading national solar energy firm with an established reputation for integrity and reliability across its development, infrastructure, and environmental commodity businesses. To date, Sol has developed and/or financed over 1 GW of solar projects valued at more than $1 billion for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, counties, utilities, universities, and schools. The company also actively shapes and trades in environmental commodity and electricity markets throughout the United States. The company was founded in 2008, is based in Washington, D.C., and is led by its founder. Sol Systems works with its team, partners, and clients to create a more sustainable future we can all believe in. For more information, visit https://www.solsystems.com/