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How to Inspect Solar Power Plants with Drone?

Unmanned aerial vehicles are used to reduce maintenance costs and increase energy production of large photovoltaic systems (solar power plants). Inspection of solar power plants using unmanned aerial vehicles provides significant time savings.

Using Thermal Drones to Accelerate Solar PV Thermographic Inspection Processes

Thermographic inspection inspection by drone is rapidly entering the solar industry. Thermal inspections at solar power plants are being carried out by thermal drone devices such as the highly advanced DJI Mavic 3T drone technology instead of traditional methods.

Compared to traditional solar inspection, the use of drones has proven to be more effective and efficient due to their speed and accuracy. Drones save much more time and effort than other maintenance options, while also helping to maintain the health of solar power plants.

What is Inspection with Thermal Drone?

Thermographic inspection of solar power plants by drone has become critical for many solar power plant companies that rely on visual inspections to complete maintenance protocols and procedures. Since traditional inspection of solar power plants is a costly and lengthy process, drones are generally used to inspect large sites.

Drones are very fast and can fly high enough to collect visual data. It provides great convenience to quickly complete inspections of solar power plants and inspect hard-to-reach areas of a site.

MapperX takes advantage of the latest technology by using an ultra-high performance, professional drone for the inspection of your solar power plants.

The DJI Mavic 3T is equipped with a thermal camera that scans each solar panel and identifies hot spots indicating faults. But what happens if it finds one or more faults during the inspection?
Following the inspection, MapperX provides its customers with an overall thermal map of the solar power plant showing the exact location of faults in the panels.

It also provides thermal imaging photos to show temperature differences. Problems are identified by extracting delta t temperatures from the thermal map and with the help of photos. After the serial numbers of the PV panels are entered into the report, world-class reports are generated. With the data obtained, PV panel manufacturers and field maintenance teams are started to take part in the field quickly for on-site detections and repairs.

Traditional Inspection in Solar Power Plants

Traditionally, inspections in solar power plants are a manual process where electricians check modules for electrical soundness, PV panel specialists check each panel individually using thermal cameras and technicians record all faults. This manual process can take, for example, 3 people months for a solar power plant with 70,000 PV panels spread over 40 hectares. In addition to being costly and prone to human error, this manual process often causes interruptions in power generation.

Thermal Drone Review in Solar Power Plants MapperX

Given the ease of drones and the disadvantages of manual inspections, DJI thermal drones are among the right choices for inspecting solar power plants. The use of drones in the solar industry has increased rapidly over the past few years. A drone mounted with a thermal camera can fly on pre-planned routes covering a section of the solar power plant at a time and capture thermal images. The same 40 hectare area can be well surveyed by drones in as little as 4 hours. With unmanned aerial vehicles, solar power plant areas are examined more efficiently, accurately and consistently.

Predictive Maintenance in Solar Power Plants

Predictive maintenance in PV panels is a method that enables the detection of possible defects in equipment and processes or anomalies in panels by using data analysis tools and techniques to prevent unplanned maintenance needs and prevent errors in the production line.
In order not to stop production in case of any malfunction in the solar power plant, it has reached a very important point in cost calculations to turn to planned maintenance methods where fault detection can be made by using thermographic inspection processes with drone at the stage of malfunctions.

In solar power plants where thermographic inspection procedures are carried out on time;

  • Reduction in maintenance costs: 75 -90
  • Reduction in deterioration: 45 – 55
  • Increase in production: 30-45
  • Increase in return on investment: 10 timesMapperX software provides solutions for problems that prevent the production of PV plants by detecting malfunctions in solar power plants with 99% accuracy by using the power of data and analysis. As MapperX, we aim to be a solution partner at the point of increasing efficiency by maintaining the installed solar power plants.