Drones in Solar Energy

Traditional solar field assessments consist of inspecting each panel with handheld thermal imagers to check for defective cells or cables. During this process, personnel have to manually keep track of the locations of anomalies to perform maintenance afterward. Because of the scale of most solar farms, this method of inspecting results in inefficient and imprecise data.

The integration of drone technology has completely improved the efficiency and accuracy of the inspection process. Thermal cameras, can survey large areas within a solar farm, collecting high-resolution infrared images during just a single flight.

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reduction in inspection time

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decrease in inspection costs

Visual and Thermal Images

Aerial images provide a broader perspective of solar farms and allow maintenance teams to receive valuable information in real-time. When analyzing thermal images, it is easier to identify potential anomalies across cells, strings, or panels. Combining thermal and visual data helps you determine if the heat anomalies are caused by faults found physically on the panel, such as delamination, cracks, dust, or internal issues such as the inability to connect to a panel due to an inverter or cable failure.

Output Efficiency

Early detection of faulty elements within a solar farm will help to prevent major output deficiencies. The faster and more accurately a maintenance team can detect possible defects, the quicker they can respond and prevent major system failures. Inspections and maintenance that are effectively conducted translate into protecting the interests of investors and ensuring that the the PV system is operating at its peak efficiency.

Detailed Reports

With use of thermal and visual images, the data is run into our industry leading software to detect all anomalies. These issues are then tagged, geo referenced, and reviewed for efficient remediation. Each defect from cell to string level is described with thermal and visual images for reference. Our reports also include an interactive map of your solar plant with the ability to easily share with other team members.

Inspection Time

One of the main reasons for adopting drones for solar panel inspections is reduction in maintenance costs. Typically, inspections of large solar farms are done by a ground team who inspect each panel by hand. This method can take days or weeks depending on the size of the farm and it results in a large amount of man hours which significantly increases costs. Drones are proven to reduce inspection time by up to 70%.