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Case Study: Increasing Solar Inspection Efficiency with Drones

Case Study: Increasing Solar Inspection Efficiency with Drones

Posted By: Measure.

Introduction

UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) technologies provide operational efficiency gains to solar asset management. To quantify these gains, Measure compared time, costs, and results of its 100% IR drone inspections to relevant manual inspection scenarios across four solar sites. These comparisons, documented below, yielded the following results:

Drones Increased Efficiency by 97%

Drones Saved an Average of $1,254/MW 

Test Site Descriptions

Site 1:
Preventative maintenance of 74MW in Sunrall, MS
Comparison: Clamp Testing with 20% IV Curve Tracing Testing

Site 2:
Preventative maintenance of 30MW in Spargue, CT
Comparison: Voc/lsc Testing at the Combiner Box with Visual Inspection

Site 3:
System Commissioning for 21MW in Rincon, GA
Comparison: 100% handheld IR scanning with 15% IV Curve Tracing Testing

Site 4:
System Commissioning for 12.5MW in Herald, CA
Comparison: 100% IV Curve Tracing Testing

Test Site Conditions

Vetted environmental factors to ensure the highest quality thermal data.

  • Site irradiance greater than 600 watts/m2
  • Wind speed less than 15 mph
  • Cloud cover less than 2/8ths
  • Panel orientation 5 ° – 60 °, where 0 ° is horizontal
  • Solar noon with adjustments made to minimize site shading

Read the rest of this study here.