White Paper

19 February 2018


Estimated reading time: 10 min

Aerial inspections for solar asset optimization

Owners and operators of Photovoltaic (PV) systems are managing the growth of the fastest growing energy asset class globally. While a large operator for a gas turbine generator may be responsible for dozens of generators and a large wind  operator may be responsible for multiple hundred turbines, a large PV operator may be responsible for a fleet of millions of individual modules.  

Because of this massively distributed nature of this asset class, PV facilities provide unique opportunities and challenges for a system operator. On one hand, a single module failure is not catastrophic to the performance of an asset in the same way as a wind or gas turbine failure. However, monitoring and detection of failures in the PV system is impeded by the complex nature of failures, and the cost and accuracy of distributed sensor networks. 

Aerial inspections are a new methodology which addresses these operational issues. These inspections utilize specialized sensors mounted on an aerial platform which are is able to identify and classify energy production issues to an extremely granular level. These inspections provide an alternative to traditional manual electrical testing and can increase site output and safety while decreasing labour costs and providing an unparalleled level of intelligence on the DC health of a PV fleet. 

This complimentary 10-page white paper outlines the fundamentals of aerial inspection technologies, reviews operational results from over 6gw of projects globally, and outlines methodologies for integrating these tools into the operational plan for a pv project.

This white paper was created in preparation for Solarplaza Summit Asset Management North America. Be the first to know when the new edition will be held by signing up for updates.

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