Drone-based Inspections for Solar Assets

Manage solar PV installs across the asset lifecycle

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Find 10 times as many issues as ground inspections in 10% of the time and at 10% percent of the cost.

Whether you need to monitor the performance of your solar PV system operator, inspect a site for warranty claims, or just want your investment to perform optimally, our drone-based solutions deliver a flexible, cost-effective way to inspect your system assets.
 

Traditionally, O&M providers, EPC firms, and asset owners have relied on plane flyovers or ground inspections using handheld sensing devices to check for anomalies, induced degradation, module mismatch, and other issues.

Now, using drones, they can get better data, faster.

  • Operators reduce outages and prioritize maintenance to stay within service-level agreements.
  • Owners use aerial data to manage assets over a lifetime, selecting operators and materials that consistently maintain the best outputs.
  • Insurers and claims adjusters get a comprehensive view of assets before paying warranty or damage claims.

 

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MANAGING THE SOLAR PV ASSET LIFECYCLE

Download our solution brief to learn how you can deploy a drone-based platform to manage the solar PV asset lifecycle. By harnessing the power of drone-based technology, you can achieve new levels of safety and efficiency in your solar energy operations.

 

Read the Solution Brief

Get Comprehensive Drone and Data Services

There’s no need to own a drone, maintain a pilot on staff, or analyze data. We’ve built our service based on years of operations research and work for Fortune 100 clients. As a result, you can procure enterprise-grade aerial intelligence—featuring easy-to-understand action items and takeaways—through a simple, turnkey service.
 
 

Here's how it works:

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Collect

Credentialed pilots, with experience flying PV projects, deploy thermal, LiDAR, and multispectral sensors to collect data over the assets.

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Process and Analyze

Overseen by our data scientists, the sensor data is processed by proprietary algorithms that interpret the data.

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Deliver and Action

Reports identify potential issues and where they are on your property. When data is collected over time, the resulting operational insights can enable long-term asset management.

When you’re ready to take your drone program “in-house,” we can help you transition without interruption.

 

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PrecisionAnalytics Solar

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Put Aerial Intelligence to Work on Your Solar Site

Don’t just collect data—get insights. Use our intuitive reporting system to resolve issues or integrate data into asset management systems (to maintain and monitor assets in a more prescriptive fashion).

Our reports identify:

Physical damage • Cell-level defects and degradation • Bad diodes • Strings or modules offline • Soiling • Potential Induced Degradation (PID) • Reverse polarity • Module mismatch • Storm damage • Rack shifts • Vegetation encroachment • Shading • Foreign objects

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How Our Clients are Using PrecisionAnalytics Solar

Trend analysis: identify patterns in the performance of assets from various OEMs and in differing regions.

Site Selection: LIDAR-equipped drones can map vegetation, terrain and water features.

Precision temperature calculation: measure temperature differentials between cells to less than a degree of accuracy, a key for determining warranty coverage eligibility

Fire prevention: find dangerous fire-threat conditions on thin-film panels

Pre-purchase Evaluation: buyers can request a report detailing topography, panel health, string issues, and vegetation.

Insurance Risk Assessment: insurers may offer customers a discount if the assets are in good shape.

Insurance Claims Reporting: claims adjusters can quickly assess damage after a storm for insurance claims.

Improve Safety

Our reports are easy to read and give your maintenance staff an exact location to fix a solar panel, repair a string, or manage encroaching vegetation. When workers can avoid walking the farm with handheld sensing devices, the risk of electric shock, accidental injury and heat stroke decreases. And for assets attached to commercial rooftops? An aerial inspection aids in compliance with safety regulations, keeping staff off of hot roofs and eliminating the risk of injury from falling.

Prevent Issues

While maintenance staff gets specific directions on where to go in the field to make the fixes, asset managers, and anyone with a stake in the health and productivity of the PV install can integrate the data into their systems to track issues. Over time, this data can inform decisions on preventive maintenance and prescriptive decisions around the selection of contracting companies and replacement materials.

Harness the Power of Advanced Drone Technology

 

We employ the most advanced thermal infrared and high-resolution visual sensors available. Our data algorithms turn sensor data into insights, measuring the condition of every module and cell, as well as other components. The outcome is an intuitive, actionable report.

  • Works for both polycrystalline and thin-film panels
  • Thermal infrared (IR) sensors for all types of panels, particularly for fire-threat analysis
  • Non-infrared sensors, adjusted for the thin-film module, are used to determine the module condition
  • Visual images are used to determine the physical condition and soiling level

Results

An energy output mystery solved

A utility was investigating why one of its solar farms was delivering 30% less energy than it was designed to collect. Their own data showed just four defective panels, and one anomaly near a ground wire.

The utility initially thought the data was reported in error—until PrecisionHawk flew a drone, collected data and analyzed it. It turns out the anomaly was an incorrectly installed ground wire. Even walking the farm with a handheld device might not have detected the problem. The energy output returned to the expected level after the ground wire was fixed.

An end-of-warranty inspection uncovers multiple defects

One operator wanted to take full advantage of warranty coverage before it ended. A drone-led inspection uncovered multiple defects. The company made a warranty claim for $400,000, with the cost of the inspection amounting to only 12.5% of the claim.

Detecting, and avoiding, power generation interruptions

Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, had successfully teamed with PrecisionHawk to fly drones over a damaged PV system and provide detailed information for areas that needed to be fixed. The company has also used drones to run a pre-loss program looking for vegetation encroachment and panel before power generation was interrupted.

Read the full case study

When to fly BVLOS (and when not to)

ipad-bvlose The foundation of an effective drone strategy is knowing when to use traditional, VLOS, and BVLOS inspection approaches.

 

Read the Whitepaper

Why PrecisionHawk?

We’ve built our offerings to scale. From investing in geospatial science expertise to understanding the regulatory environment, we’re able to support a one-time flight or a fully integrated enterprise aerial intelligence program.

 

The World’s Largest Commercial Drone Pilot Network

More than 15,000 licensed operators are available to fly any site in the United States within 24 to 72 hours.

Regulatory management

All our FAA Part 107 certified and insured pilots follow PrecisionHawk’s OSHA-compliant Standard Operating Procedures and an FAA-defined Safety Management System. We also hold an  “A” grade from ISNet.

Fast, actionable intelligence

It’s not a PDF or a pile of photos. We offer a web interface with a report you can integrate into your asset management systems.

Leaders in Drone-based Geospatial Science

Our industry-leading team of Ph.D. and remote sensing-accredited geospatial scientists ensure the quality and accuracy of data outcomes.

Experts in Advanced Remote Sensing Hardware

We help you select the best sensor for the job, and understand the unique needs of solar PV installs.

Services and solutions to help you manage your solar assets

Want to further integrate drones into your preventive maintenance and incident recovery programs? We offer a full suite of services that strengthen the data value chain. The result: You can manage your solar infrastructure efficiently and effectively.  

Colin Snow, Skylogic Research

"We think [PrecisionHawk's recent acquisitions] position the firm as a leading service provider for companies wanting to perform asset inspections—specifically those companies in the oil & gas, insurance, and utility industries that need BVLOS operations."

 

Read More

 

Get a Quote

Whether you are looking to optimize your assets’ performance, save money on time-consuming field inspections or understand the value of a solar install you are looking to buy, we provide a flexible, compliant and cost-effective approach.

 
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