Robotics Startup Company Brittmore Group Secures $1M Grant.
An upcoming Silicon Valley startup, which uses robots to install solar panels, has managed to raise and amount of $1 million grant from the Department of Energy. San Jose-based Brittmore Group, is focused on bring a way to install large scaled solar power plants with the use of robotic automatons, instead of human hands. .
“We developed a system for constructing the power plants very quickly and with a very small workforce,” says CEO and founder Bram Britcher. Robots are used to do the heavy lifting of solar panels, and can shuttle panels to their installation locations at a rate of 10 miles per hour. The end result? Britcher says Brittmore is able to install power plants 20 times faster than traditional methods.
The would be the second government grant the Small Business Innovations Research company has managed to secure earlier this month. Britcher has commented that the company has received nearly a total amount of up to $1.5 million from the Department of Energy.
This new funding round will help Brittmore Group from getting closer to commercializing its robotic installation process, as it continues to take steps towards even larger solar based projects in California.
The government funding had definitely received a warm welcoming from the Four-year-old startup, Beside the grants its managed to acquire from the Department of Energy, Brittimore group has been entirely boot strapped by the owner themselves.
“In order to control costs, we actually machined a lot of the original parts ourselves for the robot,” says Britcher, who says the team originally rented a small office at a local incubator.
“Then, we developed the first prototype, and got a functioning system that we showed to the Department of Energy,” he explains, which helped the new startup gain their grant funding.
Despite the difficulty in maintaining a high-tech startup while bootstrapping said business, Britcher and his co-workers have remained quite optimistic about the future of the company and the solar powered industry in general.
“2014 looks very good, and the next several years look very good. Costs continue to come down,” says Britcher. “I think there are situations already where renewable energy is equal [in cost]with fossil fuels, and I think it’s going to be pretty widespread.”