UAVs for Faster, Lower Cost Solar Panel Inspections

Large-scale solar facility operators can spend thousands of man hours inspecting, identifying and isolating faulty, dirty or shaded solar panels. This operation and maintenance (O&M) work is expensive to carry out with a knock on effect on the competitiveness of solar energy pricing. As the UK

solar industry continues to grow, large-scale solar facilities will become more common and will have to optimize their O&M budgets in order to compete.

By using UAVs, solar farm operators can get low-cost, real-time inspection data, geospatially organized, together with an asset tracking user platform. Multi-rotor UAVs, can be flown autonomously over solar fields using pre-programmed GPS waypoints. This enables the capture of both visual and thermal infra-red imagery, allowing the identification of hot spots, glass cracks, shading, etc. The sensors used by our UAVs can detect interconnection problems or highlight defective diodes.

Defective panels give off more heat than functioning panels and this temperature imbalance can be easily measured by infrared camera. Using pre-programmed waypoints means surveys can be repeated accurately and quickly without the need to create new flight paths or manually check survey areas.

This way of detecting the malfunctioning panels is simple, effective and relatively low cost allowing the operator to replace or fix the damaged panels immediately and keep the solar farm running at peak efficiency. UAVs can capture actionable geospatial data, enabling operators to substantially reduce the time spent inspecting whole solar fields and instead target their resource towards the deficient panels only. The lifetime of the solar panels depends on proper monitoring and inspection, with precise information regarding any degradation being critical to the systems, to this end UAVs can offer a significant benefit in better managing the financial asset risk.

PLANNING PERMISSION SERVICE -Obtaining planning permission for your wind or solar farm can be a long and costly process; our planning permission service can drastically reduce the time taken to obtain approval and increase your chances of success.

  • SITE SELECTION We have developed a methodology to find potentially suitable sites from geographic data over wide areas. Working in conjunction with Ian Dee Consultancy, our surveys aid the site selection by considering all the suitability factors e.g. topography, proximity to roads, meteorological conditions etc.
  • PLANNING ACCELERATION REPORT To aid planning approval we can save both time and money as well as boosting reassurance by providing a planning acceleration 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.

Remote Aerial Surveys provides a wide range of robust, low-cost services for the renewable sector, deploying UAVs to capture data and then interpreting the findings.
Call us on 01444 401840 to find out more.