Using Drones to Assist in Data Collection and Solar Farm Inspections

The last decade has seen an explosion of growth in the solar industry. The growth rate hovers around 50 percent per year which makes it a quickly growing industry in the energy sector. There is a lot of heavy investment that goes into the labor costs, inspections, and maintenance. All of these things help keep solar farms working at their full capacity. Inspections ensure the longevity of solar farms and with solar technology being so expensive, longevity is essential. 

Top companies like that of FlyGuys try to keep inspection costs as reasonable as possible. This is done by making data collection more efficient and reducing errors simultaneously. Optimizing the data collection process is imperative when it comes to cutting down on costs. Drones help gather data at immense rates and this data is higher quality than would be garnered from traditional collection methods. 

What Types of Inspections Are There? 

There are two ways to inspect a solar farm. Maintenance crews can manually inspect the solar panels, which can be an extremely laborious task on an industrial scale solar farm, or aerial imaging can be done using drones to gather data on the solar panels. 

Aerial inspections using drones can help identify problems that can have a huge impact on the PV system. This is the most affordable and quickest way to identify issues with a PV system. Problems found can warrant a field visit to make sure the system is working as efficiently as possible. 

A thermal inspection using a drone is advised to help identify issues with wiring, modules, and fuse failures. The detail of the inspection allows a team to truly understand the performance of their modules in the PV system, and quantify the size of the issue. A drawback of this inspection is that it doesn’t offer absolute temperature accuracy readings. Combining this thermal data with RGB data is recommended to get the most accurate inspection evaluation.

A comprehensive inspection is extremely detailed as it can help identify cracked modules and delamination. This will be the most detailed drone inspection and can help dispatch teams out to the field for repairs. The comprehensive inspection will also be able to identify parts of the modules that might be overheating. 

Data Capture 

Data capture is immensely important as it can be easy to gather data that is not valuable at all. Top companies like FlyGuys have put together inspections that capture the most accurate data. The data is then used by analytics companies to create reports for the site being inspected. The right drone pilot is also very important and company to gather the data is essential. 

Drones have truly changed the way inspections are done on solar farms. The data that is gathered can be used to create a report for a client to make sure the site has the best ROI possible. The future is coming in terms of solar energy being a huge part of the energy sector. 

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