UAVs and

SOLAR ARRAYS

 

Aerial thermal imaging as a method of maintenance for solar farms is accurate and cost-effective and will likely soon become an industry norm. According to the NREL, aerial thermal imaging can be used not only for annual preventative maintenance but system commissioning, end-of-warranty inspections, and infrared inspections of AC substations. This is because viewing thermal variation in PV arrays allows detection of any critical defect causing module inefficiency and proactive detection the following classes of array faults:

 

  • Module faults: Individual hot spots, diode failures, full module failures, junction-box heating, cracked/shattered modules, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) fogging, yellowing, antireflective coating degradation, acute soiling (bird droppings, debris, vegetation), and any other module-level defects

  • String and system faults: Fuse failures, inverter failures, module-connector failures, reverse-polarity wiring, major maximum power-point tracking (MPPT) faults

  • Racking and balance of system: Major racking shifts, systemic shading, major erosion, and poor drainage

Teledrone combines thermal imaging with regular high definition photo imaging so that within the inspection report thermal variation can be validated against a high definition visual inspection. Our field experts carefully post-process the thermal images to accurately detect the probable cause and exact location of any thermal faults.

Every report is tailored to our client's specific needs. Below is a sample of the type of information we typically include:

 

  • A high definition overview image of the site indicating where the systemic anomalies and the related information.

  • An overview of the total number of issues and their nature organized by urgency.

  • A thermal image, a high definition visual image, and a detailed summary of each defect describing the nature of the problem, the exact location, the probable cause of the problem,  the level of urgency, and the recommended course of action.

  • Indefinite access to all the RAW data for the ability to cross reference and revisit the information (if Teledrone is not the routine maintenance provider, this information will be transferred as part of the report by means of a USB key)

  • If needed, descriptions of any further troubleshooting required on the ground.

 

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