After emerging from lockdown full of ideas, we thought we’d run a test to see if we could inspect some solar PV, upload it to Scopitos AI and then use the report to go find any faults, all in the same visit.
It wasn’t perfect but with some more work it shows what might be round the corner in the future!
A pleasure to be interviewed and featured in the quality drone magazine this month. Have a look below and head over to their site:
This image shows PV modules that have a failed bypass diode. Bypass diodes are installed in modules to protect the PV cells from damage during shading. There is generally 3 of them within the junction box, each protecting a string of 20 cells which is why you can clearly see 1/3rd of the module is a lot hotter than the surroundings.
A failed bypass diode causes reduced voltage in a module, and because modules are wired in strings, this then has a knock on effect reducing the overall efficiency of a much larger part of the system. This is what is known as the domino effect and is why small faults such as these can have a disproportionate effect on a sites performance ratio.
If one module usually has 60 volts then a faulty bypass diode will cause that voltage to drop to 40 volts for example. That 33% reduction would be easy to spot if every module was tested individually, but they are tested in long strings of around 20 modules. So 20modules x 60v = 1200V and now the ‘missing’ 20v caused by the faulty diode represents just under 2% difference. Add to the mix that PV modules by their very nature have varying voltages +/- 3% and change with the weather, it could be quite easy to miss a fault such as this when relying on string testing alone and is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
A drone based thermal survey removes all the guess work, highlighting problems and flushing out faulty modules very quickly.
Contact us today for more information.
Traditionally Solar PV Thermography testing has been within the remit of the O&M (Operations&Maintenance) department. Testing the modules manually is very laborious so a pre-agreed percentage, of 20% for example, would be arbitrarily tested.
Nowadays, with the advent of aerial based thermography testing (by UAV), 100% of the asset is inspected. After such an inspection any physical defects are very prominent and the entire sites overall health is quickly plain to see.
Asset managers/owners do not always have their own ‘in house’ O&M teams and may employ a number of contractors. A comprehensive thermography report offers not only a clear insight into the status of the assets, but to some extent the performance of O&M departments as well.
With this in mind, and considering the vast range of aerial thermography methods and deliverables, it could be argued that it should be the responsibility of the Asset manager/owner to agree a standardised specification and directly contract the thermography testing for all of their portfolio.
Contact us today for more info and to discuss your requirements.
An irradiance level At least 600 W/M2 is needed to inspect Solar PV. This is the amount of energy falling on the surface of the modules, therefore any metering equipment should be placed in the same plane.
You can of course obtain some thermal patterns at lower irradiance, but to be able to fully check for all anomalies such as junction box failures for example, then the module has to be ‘working hard’ and producing a sufficient amount of energy.
Does this mean inspections should only be in the hot summer months? NO! PV modules work very well when they’re cooler, and they will often provide some of their peak outputs during cold sunny days. There are often many days in the UK during early spring or late autumn which are very good for PV production and therefore thermal inspections.
The displayed graph shows a good day in FEB where there was >600w/m for most of the day.
Get in touch for more info or to book your inspection today.
An aerial photograph is extremely effective when it comes to marketing properties as everyone knows.
By taking some shots of a site before building work has started, and handing them to the clever people at D-Zine Lounge, you can add proposed developments using GCI.
This can help with planning application as well as getting a head start on the sales process.
Much nicer to look at than some boring plans we say..
An aerial shot or 2 is a brilliant way to give a project a lift, even if it is some general views of the projects location. Luckily such shots can be easily and economically purchased and even trialled FOR FREE via the DSR Stock website. Check it out now.
By taking 100’s of thermal images and tuning them, it is possible to recreate the subject using photogrammetry. This is a great tool for displaying where heat loss is occurring from a building for example. In the future it would be nice if the model is radiometric as well, but thats not possible just yet. Still, it looks quite impressive though!
Have a click on the image below and explore …
UAV thermal inspection of Solar PV displays almost all you need to know as to the health of your solar asset.
A site that has been 100% thermally inspected can reveal all kinds of information from Inverter / string outages or reversed polarity, down to sub-module faults such as string diodes, hotspots, Junction box failures or potential induced degradation.
IR Testing solar panels by hand is extremely laborious, and also difficult to get the correct angle of attack on the imaging device. For this reason thermography tends to be applied by taking a small sample of the site. How can this be acceptable, when for a similar cost you can have the entire site inspected?
The data is extremely useful to management of all the different aspects of solar life cycle. The service pays for itself many times over, not just on helping to reduce lost yield but also aiding better decisions across the board.
To produce meaningful and accurate results a thorough knowledge of PV, Thermography and UAV’s is most important. The equipment and software are just as vital, followed closely by the workflow, data collection, processing and reporting. All works must adhere to the IEC standards.
Get in touch today for more information,
Request your Thermography for Solar PV by UAV / Drone Report
The IEC are soon to announce the technical standard for the inspection and testing of solar PV modules and standard will require Level 1 and 2 certifications in thermography, for the inspection of PV modules and for the issuance of inspection report.
We are already qualified to Level 1 and are sitting the level 2 early this year in preparation for this years maintenance season.
For a professional service, from a qualified company please do get in touch today.
For more information click here (downloads and pdf)
Wind turbine inspections sales and services global revenue is predicted to reach $6 billion by 2024, according to Navigant Research .
There are 270,000 wind turbine blades already in service. When considering future installations, it’s not hard to see why such a large revenue is forecast. Should one of these blades fail whilst under operation the results could be extremely dangerous. Traditional techniques involve lots of man-power and risky access equipment. Being able to negate large amounts of that risk, whilst obtaining better and quicker results AND making a huge cost savings, makes the use of UAV’s a ‘no brainer’.
By taking multiple overlapping photographs during a planned flight, it is possible to recreate a near perfect scale 3D model of a building or area of land. This is not only pretty cool to play with, and always gets people interacting, but can have many uses for construction and estates such as showcasing, planning and interactive apps. Have a try with the model below:
UAV’s and drones are massively popular already and their use is exploding.
Professionals undertake intensive training and know what they can and cant do, but consumers and hobbyists may be able to buy a drone and not be informed of the regulations, some of which are law and all of which are for peoples safety.
In a nutshell, you must NOT fly within 50 meters of a person without their consent – and that generally includes overhead – and you should not go any higher than 400 feet (120m)
There is always more to think about and check for your area of the country. For example, Bournemouth beach is within the airports airspace and should be notified if you intend to fly there, and nearby Hengistbury Head is protected by local byelaws and is a no fly zone in order to protect all the wildlife, so be sure to do your homework before you start.
You are in control of the drone and you will be responsible if it causes damage or harm. Please flysafe.
for more info :
360 degree is poised to be the next big thing in video. The sense of immersion you get from being able to control where you look whilst the video is playing is fascinating and fun. The effect is powerful enough just on a 2D screen or tablet, but video can also be captured in VR mode to view on Google cardboard for a full virtual reality experience.
Google and Facebook are leading the way and obviously have high hopes for this technology given the amount they are investing in it.
We are certainly intrigued and think that a drone flight around a course, estate or park featuring 360 video would be a great way to take a ‘tour’ as well as make an outstanding piece of marketing collateral.
By using aircraft to take multiple photographs in all directions and cleverly stitching them togetheryou can create impressive results. From vast panorama’s for large buildings and landscapes to fun ‘mini-planets’. For large estates and virtual tours you can’t beat a 360/180 degree panoramic for a super immersive experience. see what you think BY CLICKING HERE
Please leave as much details as you can. We will issue you a guide proposal and an idea of feasibility.