Benefits of using drones for photovoltaic solar farms

For efficient operation and maintenance of photovoltaic solar farms, monitoring and inspecting is an essential task to increase the performance and protection of the (PV) solar farm. Therefore, it helps achieve higher profits from investments.
Technological developments have replaced human manual inspections for the monitoring process of photovoltaic panels. Now, intelligent systems such as surveillance cameras, robots and drones are used as monitoring systems.

Drones are the most suitable monitoring system for photovoltaic farms due to their wide range of inspecting and surveillance capabilities. Drones efficiently record data and can be centrally controlled.
Photovoltaic systems often face issues with performance, system component failures, sometimes due to meteorological conditions. The issues can reduce the efficiency of the photovoltaic solar farm causing energy losses.

Lately, drones have extended their services to the solar industry in the areas of monitoring and surveillance. Drones require a much shorter time to monitor large scale photovoltaic solar farms as compared to manual inspection or other monitoring methods.
Drones can capture visual and thermal images at a very high resolution. They have the ability to image photovoltaic modules and other components of the photovoltaic installation. Drones can identify potential problems with solar panels and components.
The condition of the photovoltaic solar farm can be interpreted from images. Drone technology allows the monitoring process to be more intelligent and accessible by providing a wide range of services. Drones enable technicians to identify problems in a much shorter time.

Some of the services provided by the intelligent drone systems in photovoltaic solar farms are as follows:

  • Thermal imaging to identify faults in the photovoltaic module or array
  • Monitoring of possible shadows on the photovoltaic array
  • Enabling and optimizing inspection reliability
  • Allows on-site asset security through visual monitoring
  • Lesser time-consuming monitoring facility
  • Enabling and optimizing inspection reliability
  • Continuous monitoring during the construction phase
  • Information on dust accumulation
  • Can quickly detect the threats of equipment theft enabling safety

The benefits of intelligent drone systems in photovoltaic solar farms are as follows:

  • Time-saving during the inspection visits
  • Accuracy in finding the faults
  • Increases inspection performance
  • Long-term data maintenance
  • Increased energy productivity
  • Aims to boost investment returns
  • Improved operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic (PV) plant
  • Wide integration and multi-tasking ability

Drones provide a practical solution for the inspection of photovoltaic solar farms. Hazardous man-hours can be avoided, maintenance costs are reduced, inspections and repairs are easier, energy production can be maximized, and in this way business efforts can be supported.
High-risk activities are reduced by using drones to improve safety, increase efficiencies, and enhance overall asset management. Using drones for photovoltaic solar farms opens up new possibilities. Complete inspections using drones can be completed in a fraction of the time, saving costs, getting better data and avoiding hazardous man-hours.
One of the most valuable benefit of using drones is allowing infrastructure inspection without having to shut it down. This improves turnaround time for the business.