Our client’s problem:

The solar industry is growing exponentially. There are now over 5.9GW of solar installed and over 1.5M solar installations in Australia. Operations and maintenance (O&M) providers are responsible for the upkeep of large photovoltaic systems, and they are increasingly turning to drones to reduce maintenance costs.

The current process to identify, categorise and report on panel hot spots is manual, time intensive and costly.

BIRDI’s Solution

BIRDI was engaged to identify hot spots in real time to assist the installer to rectify an unknown fault. The installer requested hot spot identification and live monitoring to assess when (and if) the fault had been rectified.

The BIRDI platform was able to assist in:

  1. Provision of qualified drone pilots – BIRDI has the largest directory of drone pilots with more than 1,400 across Australia.
  2. Matched local drone pilots within hours of the request – saving time and money as drone pilots didn’t need to be flown in to capture footage.Β 
  3. Live inspection – the BIRDI pilot performed a live inspection of hot spot areas and an initial inspection of the array.
  4. Aerial imagery processed on the BIRDI platform – the imagery was immediately available via the BIRDI platform for analysis and closer inspection by engineers.

ResultsΒ 

Observations

  1. Identifying panel faults in a series wired array is time consuming due to the greater number of panels to be examined.
  2. Recognising changes in panel behaviour whilst working on inverters is difficult and time consuming
  3. Existing methods of hot spot identification are inferior (to drone detection) and time consuming.

BIRDI’s thermal drone deployment:

  1. Accurately identified hot spots leading to fault detection and rectification
  2. Reduced fault identification time
  3. Reduced the need for roof access
  4. Reduced time spent going back and forth between inverter and panel
  5. Confirmed fault had been rectified

Figure 1: Aerial inspection quickly identified a wiring fault.

Figure 3: Thermal imaging instantly identified common host spots at the base of panels.

Figure 2: Thermal imaging identified a foreign object on one panel causing reduced efficiency.

Figure 4: Thermal imaging instantly identified common host spots at the base of panels.

Atlas Renewables, Clean Energy

Atlas Renewables is a service aggregator investing in and partnering with innovative and forward-thinking businesses in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency space.

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