How is Drone Technology Changing Solar Plants

With the pollution levels rising consistently and natural resources depleting, life is becoming difficult for each passing generation. In this scenario, the world calls for alternate sources of energy that can sustain us for longer and reduce environmental pollution drastically. 

Solar energy has proven to be one of the most successful sources of renewable energy. Since sunlight does not deplete, there is no fear of the resource ending, and the process of converting sunlight to energy does not involve causing pollution. Earlier, solar energy was priced highly because of its high maintenance cost, but after the introduction of drones in technology, the world of solar energy has been revolutionised. 

Drones have evolved the way solar farms get inspected. With the newest addition of thermal sensors to a few drones, the accuracy and the speed of checking have improved multifolds. Drones can undoubtedly be considered one of the best ways of inspecting solar farms today.

Reduces time taken for inspection 

Switching to drones has had a significant impact on the efficiency of the solar farms. The number of inspections carried out by a drone in a day are equal to months of inspection done under manual checking. This does not only help check for faults, it also helps in enhancing the overall productivity of the power plant. 

It helps with the maintenance of the entire power plant. The thermal maps provide the precise location of faults and issues, which increases the accuracy of ground operations and reduces human error. With this increase in productivity, the maintenance costs in solar power plants have decreased dramatically. 

Saves costs 

The money involved in operating drones is typically for the machinery and the skill used to fly it and collect aerial information. As it is a less painstaking and time-consuming project, the price gap between collecting drone information and collecting information manually is huge. 

Drones also help in reducing costs indirectly by detecting maintenance issues early on that help in maintaining a long life of the assets on their plant. 

Improves accuracy

When solar panels need to be inspected manually, humans have to inspect thousands of panels by hand across hundreds of acres of land. This task takes months to accomplish and can cause damage till the time a fault is detected. In order to speed the process, workers inspect a sampling of solar panels. However, in this case, there are wider inaccuracies that have no way to be detected. With drones, you have an aerial view of the entire solar farm and each panel gets inspected thoroughly. They are even equipped with thermal sensors that reduce human dependency and increase accuracy. 

Gives Future Predictions

As stated above, drones provide digital data for maintenance activities and checking for faults. But, the advantages of drones are not limited to solving existing problems, they can also be used to determine future problems and avoid them before they can affect the productivity of the power plant. Drones provide digital data for each panel on the entire power plant and helps the staff to keep all their equipment and panels maintained. 

They can also give future predictions for the productivity of the power plant with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, that helps determine the amount of energy that will be created based on the past performance and the current functioning of the solar panels. As technology keeps evolving, the power of drones keeps increasing, and in turn it helps with increasing the efficiency of the solar power plant. 

Makes solar power a reliable source of energy

While solar power has multiple benefits, people were cautious of shifting to it because of the expensive cost and inconsistency. However, since technologies like drones came into being, Energy Production has maximised and downtime has reduced significantly. 

Through Drone Surveys and Thermal Mapping, power plants uncover important information. They get privy to all the cell defects, cell failure, dirt on Photovoltaic cells, Interconnection failure, Degradation of solar cells, Decrease of operational efficiency, etc. Using this information, the power plants can easily improve the productivity of the panels and provide seamless energy to the households/industries relying on the power.

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