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DJI drone thermal Solar farm surveying

Solar Panel Inspection

Using drones to inspect solar panels can give you instant, accurate, and incredibly detailed data in the most economical way. Alerting solar farm, business and property owners and managers to defective, inefficient and faulty panels. Allowing you to repair and maintain your solar panels in order to get the most value from this environmentally-friendly investment.   

By choosing to use Integrator Drone Services for your drone solar panel inspection you get a combination of drone pilot expertise with industry leading thermography qualifications and extensive experience in the energy assessement and housing sector. 

Solar panels in Britain

Britain may not be the sunniest of countries in which to live, but our appetite for renewable energy is increasing our use of solar panels. In fact, the UK is now the fourth highest country in Europe for photovoltaic system installations and we’re currently installing them faster than any other European country. 

Two years ago, solar power account for almost 4 per cent of Britain’s total electricity generation, up from just over 3 per cent in 2016. And this figure continues to grow. Solar is now the third most generated renewable energy in the UK after wind power and biomass. 

In 2018 solar power here almost doubled and just over 700,000 new installations of solar panels were made in people’s homes, businesses and solar farms. By 2020, it’s estimated that 10 million homes will be equipped.   

What affects our solar power production isn’t our grey skies and clouds, but the maintenance of panels. And that is where drone technology and Integrator Drone Services comes in. 

Whether you own a couple of panels on your roof, or fields of solar power generation, the technology needs to be looked after properly. And the easiest and most efficient way to do that is by flying a drone over them. 

Drone inspecting a solar panel
Cracked solar panel

What can go wrong with my solar panels? 

 

Once you have made the initial costly expense of buying and installing solar panels, you’ll want to keep them working at maximum efficiency to get as much as possible out of your investment. 

The latest Which? research says that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of private property solar panel owners have had a problem with their system. The bulk of these problems concerned their inverter. But 16 per cent were problems with the electrical system, 15 per cent with loose or damaged roof tiles and 4 per cent were problems with the panels themselves. 

But how do you know this without climbing onto the roof yourself? Something which becomes nye-on legally and physically impossible when you have a solar farm or panels on the roof of your headquarters. 

Solar farm owners and managers are most at benefit from the use of drones when conducting solar panel inspection. Solar farms tend to cover large areas and can’t be easily accessed by ladders or cherry pickers. Employing a drone on a regular basis to survey solar panels over a geographical location can highlight multiple repairs and inefficiences in the most efficient of ways. 

 

How can a drone help me?

Faulty solar cells produce an excess of heat, making them easy to spot with thermal imaging. Elements such as hot spots, diode failures, shattered or dirty panels, fogging and wiring issues can be quickly noted and reported back. 

Once you have a drone in the sky, it can be used to assess not just the status of your solar panels but also the entire electrical circuit including connectors, cables and inverters. If part of a solar farm, our drones can also note soil erosion, poor drainage and bad vegetation managament. And, if the panels are on a roof, they can pick up problems with water ingress, damaged or missing tiles, cracked chimney pots, the list goes on. 

There are two main reasons for using drones to assess the status of your solar panels:

  • Time efficiency

Our drone pilots can scan panels in minutes. You may think that drone technology costs a lot of money. But once you think about the cost savings involved in other methods such as scaffolding or cherry pickers, then investing in a drone flight makes sense. Our drones can fly for half an hour before we have to change their batteries. Imagine how much space we could cover in that time. 

  • Safety

What’s the alternative to flying a drone? That’ll be you, up on the roof of your house or business. Or potentially learning how to fly a helicopter over your solar field. Our drone pilots are fully certified, licensed and trained. We take all of the safety worries out of your solar panel inspection. And you don’t even have to get the ladder out the shed. 

Why should I choose Integrator for my solar panel drone inspection?

At Integrator Drone Services we are not just generic drone pilots. We are fully qualified in thermal imaging by iRed – the industry leading provider of thermography, multispectral, photogrammetry, remote sensing and drone operator training tailored for commercial operations.  Our Managing Director, Paul Harrison has more than ten years experience working in the energy saving industry. He first qualified as a Domestic Energy Assessor in 2007; carrying out domestic and commercial assessments. He also worked for ECMK – a government accredited scheme as their Head Auditor overseeing the work of hundreds of UK energy assessors.
Integrator Drone Solutions team member

We’d love to talk to you and offer a free pre-site survey and quotation!

0808 133 4567

+44 7969 654 004

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