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How to Detect Defective Solar Panels?

Solar panels may experience various damages and defects over time due to their exposure to external factors. Symptoms of defects include cracks, fractures, blemishes on the surface, low efficiency, power drop and problems at connection points. Detecting these symptoms will help solar power plant operators to direct regular maintenance and repair operations.

What is Thermal Inspection?

Thermal inspection is a method of detecting the surface temperature of objects using infrared airborne thermography technology. Solar panels heat up as they generate electricity and this thermal energy is visualized by infrared cameras, allowing defects to be detected. Thermal inspection helps to identify some defects that are invisible to the eye during visual inspection and allows operators to intervene earlier.

Importance of Thermal Inspection in Solar Power Plants

Efficiency and Performance: Defective panels will reduce their efficiency and affect the performance of the entire system. Thermal inspection detects these panels and helps to avoid a drop in energy production.

Fire and Safety: High temperatures in damaged panels can increase the risk of fire. Thermal inspection identifies the potential fire hazard at an early stage, helping to take safety precautions.

Repair and Maintenance: Regular maintenance and repair is essential for the efficient operation of solar power plants. By identifying defective panels, thermal inspection shows operators which panels need priority repair.

How is Aerial Thermal Inspection Applied with Drone?

The development of drone technology has created a significant transformation in various sectors, and thermal inspection is one of these areas. Especially in large areas such as solar power plants, buildings, agricultural areas and industrial facilities, aerial thermal inspection by drone is preferred as a fast and effective method.

Drone and Thermal Camera Selection:

Choosing a suitable drone and thermal camera for thermal inspection. When choosing a drone, it is important to consider factors such as flight time, range, camera quality and weather resistance. The choice of a sensitive and high-resolution thermal camera will also affect the accuracy of the thermal survey.

Flight Planning:

Flight planning is a critical step before conducting a thermal survey with a drone. It is necessary to prepare a plan to determine which area to focus on, flight altitude, flight speed, camera angle and path. A careful route should be created to avoid obstacles during the flight and ensure safe flight.

Flight and Data Collection:

After flight planning is completed, the drone is automatically or manually launched on the designated route. The drone uses its thermal camera to collect thermal data in the target area. The thermal camera detects the surface temperatures of surrounding objects and records this information as thermal images. During the flight, the drone operator adjusts camera angles as needed to ensure data quality and capture important details.

Data Analysis and Reporting:

At the end of the flight, the drone processes the thermal images with powerful software such as MapperX, a leading thermographic inspection software. Using thermal analysis tools, MapperX evaluates the acquired thermographic data in detail and identifies potential problems. MapperX makes the thermal inspection process more effective and efficient.

Here are the features and functionalities MapperX offers:

Error Detection: MapperX detects anomalies and defects in thermal data. Potential problems such as defective panels, energy leakage, heat leakage, water leakage, etc. can be identified, enabling early intervention for business owners.

High Sensitivity: MapperX can detect even the smallest changes in thermal images. In this way, problems at critical points are easily detected and important actions are taken.

Detailed Reporting: MapperX presents analysis results in detailed reports. The reports are easily understood and presented to customers with a user-friendly interface.

Data Storage and Monitoring: MapperX stores the data obtained during the review process and provides access to historical data. In this way, it creates an important resource to monitor trends and performance changes and prevent future problems.

Remote Access: As a cloud-based software, MapperX allows users to access data from anywhere. Thus, it offers remote monitoring and management.

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