How to Use Drone Thermal Imaging for Solar Inspections

November 13, 2023

Written by AUTHOR NAME

Using drone thermal imaging for solar panel inspections is an efficient and cost-effective way to identify issues, optimize performance, and maintain the integrity of solar installations. Here's how you can benefit from automated visual inspections on your solar farm:

  1. Detecting Defects and Hot Spots

Thermal imaging cameras on drones can quickly identify hot spots or defects in solar panels. Hot spots can indicate issues like cell damage, shading, or malfunctioning diodes, leading to reduced energy production or potential fire hazards.

Drone thermal imaging for solar inspections
  1. Preventive Maintenance

Regular thermal inspections can identify problems before they become severe or identify trends in certain anomaly types over time, allowing for timely maintenance and avoiding more costly repairs or replacements.

  1. Enhanced Safety

Traditional manual inspections often involve workers climbing onto rooftops, navigating challenging terrain, or being exposed to harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat. Using drones eliminates these safety risks by performing inspections remotely.

  1. Large-Scale Inspections

Drones can efficiently cover large solar farms or rooftops in a short amount of time, making it practical to inspect extensive installations.

  1. Data Analytics

The data collected from thermal imaging inspections can be analyzed to track the performance of individual panels, predict potential issues, and optimize energy production.

Drone thermal imaging for solar inspections
  1. Cost Savings

Drone inspections are cost-effective, especially when compared to manual inspections, which can be time-consuming and require expensive equipment.

  1. Compliance and Documentation

Drone inspections can provide visual and thermal data, which can be crucial for compliance reporting and documentation purposes.

Incorporating drone thermal imaging into your solar inspection process can help extend the life of your solar panels, increase energy production, and reduce overall operational costs.

RocketDNA’s InspectBot product allows for fast, robust and automated visual & thermal inspections of your solar installations. Our AI-enabled xBot solutions can enable both thermal and visual analysis on a daily basis to provide real-time situational awareness and data.

In addition to the thermography for the panel inspection, our InspectBot is also able to capture:

- Very high-resolution imagery using the drones’ zoom-lens camera – ideal for bearing inspections of tracker systems or other infrastructure;

- Video for day & night site security &surveillance, and for inspection of fence lines, fire breaks, etc.

- RGB imagery for site-wide mapping – enabling ortho photos and surface models to be generated for regular quantification & reporting of erosion and vegetation growth.