Renewable Energy – UAVs are the key to successful sites

Obtaining planning permission for your wind or solar farm can be a long and costly process; our UAV based planning permission service can drastically reduce the time taken to obtain approval and increase your chances of success. The quality of data which can be obtained via UAV mounted sensors is a substantial advance over current methods both in terms of accuracy and level of detail, when compared with traditional land-based surveys and manned aerial LiDAR surveys. The purpose of such surveys is to provide high quality data to aid planning, design and site construction. The increased level of detail often highlights features or locations that previously were not apparent.

Main benefits of a UAV survey when compared to a traditional land survey

  1.  More cost-effective
  2.  Better quality data with both topographical data and high-resolution aerial imagery
  3.  Site work completed faster
  4.  Difficult to reach or dangerous locations can be surveyed remotely
  5.  Reduction in exposure to risk for surveyors
  6.  No longer necessary to have full ground access to proposed site


The first step in planning your renewable investment is in choosing a suitable site. We have developed a methodology to find potentially suitable sites using geographic data from over wide areas. UAVs can much more quickly and cost effectively cover and feedback data on large areas of land facilitating better decision making. Working in conjunction with a geospatial consultancy, our surveys aid site selection by considering all the suitability factors e.g. topography, proximity to roads, meteorological conditions, access and so on. This detailed data can be used to map and model areas and compare suitability. The imagery from our UAV mounted sensors is very high resolution providing an excellent level of detail. Furthermore, we are able to process the results using advanced photogrammetry software as well as producing georeferenced orthophotos, accurate Digital Elevation Models (DEM) and oblique panoramic images.


In order to design and plan the layout for a wind or solar farm, Remote Aerial Surveys can carry out a topographic survey of the proposed site. Having both precise and reliable topographic survey information is fundamental to success and aids the process from not only design but right through to construction. Along with good visual data, a topographical survey enables the locations of access roads and the wind turbines as well as laydown areas to be more readily determined. We are able to provide 3D visualisations which not only aid planning understanding but can also be used at a later stage of the build to determine things such as earthworks volumes.

Once designed, the same data can be used to provide volumetric calculations, enable visualisation of the development and assess its impact on the environment. By using this service, you can ensure that you are making the right decisions and save both time and money compared with a land based survey. This is not only because a UAV survey takes fewer man hours but also because it can ensure that a wider variety of sites are considered with in accessibility no longer a problem. Surveys using a UAV have the added benefit of being much safer to complete too.



Picking a suitable site is only the first stage of making a renewable project a reality.  Convincing the local authority that a chosen site is suitable to develop can sometimes be quite challenging. To aid planning approval we can save both time and money as well as boosting reassurance by providing a planning permission report which can be presented directly to the local authority.

This report can show, amongst other things, a visual impact assessment of the development using both digital & physical 3D terrain models, a map showing proposed measures to mitigate any harmful factors and first person views which can be used to verify line of sight criteria.


During the construction phase UAVs can readily run repeated surveys to monitor construction progress as well as to produce as-built records.

Contact Us Today

If you are seeking a site or looking for permission to develop a site for wind or solar energy, starting a dialogue with us at an early stage could speed up the process and drastically improve your chances of success.

If you want to know more about how UAVs can assist with operational sites, read our article about inspections and maintenance.