Drone Services in the Solar Industry
Drone technology is quickly pervading many industries. With applications ranging from security to videography, these versatile tools contribute efficiency, creativity and oftentimes, cost savings. Given the potential, it’s no surprise that drone technology has drastic implications for the solar industry.
Site Surveys & Inspection
What once required extensive time and resources can now be completed more quickly and accurately with a drone, particularly for large solar facilities.
Traditional manual site inspection for a 500kW site can take two technicians up to two days to complete. Comparatively, one 40-minute drone flight can map a 1MW site with unparalleled accuracy and provide high-definition photographs and videos as visual evidence for future reference.
Using drone supplied data, the planning and engineering phases can begin immediately after a site inspection flight – reducing overall project time and allowing resources to be reallocated for better efficiency.
Thermal Imaging & Ongoing Inspection
As compared to manual methods for inspection which require a technician to search each panel for issues, a 30-minute drone flight with a thermal camera can cover a 1MW solar field and provide the desired data with images. Thermal imaging provides detailed information to pinpoint which panels or cells require maintenance and allows for a seamless transition from inspection to maintenance with more accuracy and efficiency.
Images & Video for Marketing
Portraying the magnitude of a large solar facility is nearly impossible without an aerial viewpoint. Skilled drone pilots can capture stunning images and videos of nearly any size solar project from a bird’s-eye view. This impressive media can be showcased on websites, printed materials, and other sources of outreach to promote a company or specific project.
Leveraging drone technology and its many benefits may be a no brainer, but attaining them in-house can be tricky. Pilots must be certified which requires a test, a license fee, and significant training time before the pilot can reliably perform the services discussed above. Drones themselves come with a hefty price tag and so do specialized and expensive cameras and processing software. The overall program development can be time and cost prohibitive for many companies looking to take advantage of drone technology. Working with a third-party provider for drone services is a more cost-effective option for attaining the data, efficiency, and cost savings that come with drone technology.