Drones have revolutionized the modern industry and now drone solar inspection are becoming more commonplace. A drone inspection involves using a small quad rotor aircraft, or a UAV, to conduct a series of on-site inspections of a facility or system. Unlike traditional solar panel inspections, with a drone solar inspection each module is inspected, and then the resulting detailed reports are highly informative and invaluable.
- With a drone solar inspection only two physical staff were required to inspect the integrated 10 km worth of solar cell array systems over 13 days. Such drone services are becoming more common in the modern era, when many different types of installations, whether they are roofing, or water/sealing systems, can present challenges.
- A drone solar inspection begins with the inspection of the thermal envelope surrounding the solar panels, as this is typically where the majority of the issue will be found. Drones are able to penetrate the thermal insulation, and so can be used to locate the source of the leaks. This enables the inspector to recommend methods of repair, which may include sealing the leak or changing the insulating material.
- Thermal imaging cameras are sometimes used in drone inspections, which again are useful in the detection of problems and leaks. These cameras are able to identify areas where temperatures are constantly fluctuating, allowing for a more precise leak detection process. This allows for greater efficiency when conducting drone inspections, which can lead to a greater return on investment. For example, thermal data are often taken at specific times of the day, which means that leaks are more easily located and repaired during daylight hours. On cloudy days, thermal images are normally taken at different times of the day. These data are less reliable because clouds block thermal images.
- In order to identify whether a leak is serious enough to warrant an intervention by a qualified team of experts, it is advisable to conduct a drone solar inspection at least once a year. Although many solar plants can operate safely without needing the services of an expert, it is still beneficial to identify any potential problems beforehand. This helps to ensure that the necessary repairs are carried out as soon as possible, minimizing any potential disruption to plant operations.
For businesses that are new to drone inspection, the best approach is to contact an expert provider that can provide annual updates and inspections at a reasonable cost. It is also worthwhile to identify a provider that offers a full range of services, which include thermal imaging, photovoltaic cell analysis, and leak detection.