California-based robotic two-axis tracker developer QBotix says it has received $12 million in series B financing. Germany-based E.ON and Spain-based Iberdrola S.A. joined existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Firelake Capital Management and Draper Nexus in the funding round.
Matt Lugar, vice president of sales and marketing at QBotix, says the investment will enable the company to take its field-tested Robotic Tracking System (RTS) into large-scale photovoltaic energy projects. E.ON has tested the QBotix RTS for over a year.
‘I would call it an inflection point,’ Lugar says. ‘We have proven the concept and are ready for full-blown global expansion.’
Lugar says the company's business model makes use of contracted manufacturing partners. In particular, the steel elements of the QBotix system – the supporting structure of racking and rails – are manufactured by third parties. Currently, the company retains manufacture of the electromechanical elements – including the robot, weather station and controllers – in house.
This approach,Â Lugar says, enables the company to ensure quality control while limiting its manufacturing overhead. Furthermore, being able to farm out manufacture of steel components to qualified local suppliers can be a competitive advantage in markets where local content is expected.
In January, QBotix received a contract from U.K.-based solar developer Castillium to supply its RTS to support PV projects with a total of 45 MW of capacity.