Solar UAV Inspection

FlyThru is focused on capturing both terrestrial data, and aerial data using UAV platforms to provide commercial solar investors with a complete maintenance check of their solar installations. Boasting over 20 year’s experience in both manned and unmanned aviation as well as having renewable energy experts on the team. FlyThru inspects on average 150 MW of solar installation every year.

FlyThru offers an assessment of solar installations for both now and the future using a portfolio of testing services available as a package only via FlyThru in the UK. The services offered allow investors and those responsible for solar arrays to accurately pinpoint and predict issues within their respective systems ensuring prompt action and therefore maximising power production and subsequent returns on investment.

Whether an investor in solar farms, a site operator or an engineer requiring accurate commissioning data, it is essential to ensure your asset is performing at optimum capacity to maximise return. UAVs provide a cost effective and accurate solution for solar farm maintenance inspection.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of using UAVs for solar inspection is the speed with which this system can gather data. Solar installations require irradiance levels of over 600 W/m2  which typically requires direct sunlight – uncommon weather conditions in the UK. Therefore when conditions are right, inspections must be completed quickly and accurately. FlyThru have inspected 10 MW sites in a single day and over 150 MW of PV installation in the past 180 days, a feat unachievable using terrestrial inspection methods alone.

Advantages of UAV Inspection

  • Radiometric data recorded, allowing full post processing (many drone thermal cameras don’t allow this)
  • Finds faults that cannot be seen with naked eye, or easily tested with electrical instruments (e.g. PID, bypass diode)
  • Detects bypass diode, hotspot (cell failure), string faults, combiner box fault, PID and inverter faults
  • Drone/UAV is much faster (x10) than surveying manually, covering large areas quickly
  • Every single module is inspected and therefore provides a more detailed and accurate view of the operation
  • Increases health and safety, limiting fire risk
  • Saves time, money and increases return on investments
  • Most importantly – maximise generation output

Technical Specifications

  • High resolution thermal sensor
  • Thermal sensitivity <0.04 K
  • 30 Hz
  • Infrared resolution: 382 x 288 pixels
  • Field of view: 38°

Additional Services

Ground based thermal data capture and interpretation (radiometric analysis) for combiner boxes, inverters and PV array
Ground based EL (electro-luminescence) and Flash testing using our mobile laboratory
• Providing expert interpretation for warranty claims

To see greater detail of FlyThru’s drone thermal capabilities, please see our case study.