The worldwide increased knowledge of the environment and the risk of exhausting non-recoverable energy sources is a reason that various methods of using alternative resources have been sought. Solar energy is an inexhaustible source which, thanks to the programmes for the support of the construction of solar power plants is most often used. The need for problem-free operation of such a power plant is high-quality assembly, as well as regular maintenance and inspection of all panels. A fast, cheap and reliable method where it is possible to check the quality of a large area of solar panels is thermodiagnostics using th thermal imaging system attached to the drone.
Each panel usually consists of 36 to 96 crystalline silicon cells that work on the photovoltaic effect principle. This is a very simple principle which, however, is influenced in practice by a large number of disturbing circumstances that can occur in production and use. During production and then during the installation and operation of photo voltaic power plants, defects can occur that affect the service life or restricts the performance of the panels. The most well-known material defect is the so-called swirl defect, which is caused by the injection of oxygen admixtures into the material during the production of silicon ingots.
Process defects are defects caused by poor construction and incorrect use of the panels. For the user, this may concern mechanical damage fromcareless use (scratches, cracked or broken cell) or the covering of surface areas with dirt resulting in insufficient maintenance. There is often a break in the integrity of individual layers of the panel caused either by the effects of internal tensions in the cell or by dispersion of the dirt into the silicon material during the manufacturing process.
Most of the mentioned defects result in the occurrence of hot places, known as hot spots. This is where there is an increased recombination of electrons and holes. Energy released during this process is radiated into the space as heat. These spots report excessive heating and the thermal difference compared with good cells can be higher than 50°C. This often leads to irreversible damage to the defective cell, as well as to the whole panel. Inspection of individual photo voltaic cells is usually a difficult task. Either the panels are located at a high height on the roofs of buildings, or the area is large and a visual inspection is both time and financially demanding. The omission of regular inspection once a year (detailed inspection a minimum of 1x per 4 years) can have fatal consequences in the form of fire.
< Use of thermal cameras during the diagnostics of photo voltaic panels
The ideal solution to this problem is the application of thermal camera systems because the hot spots are significantly reflected on the thermal image (termogram) by contract colouring towards the surrounding. In most cases it is not possible or safe to approach the panels with a thermal camera either in the case that the panels are located on sloped roofs or cases where passing between the panels is prevented by various obstacles (plants, roughness of the terrain). For these reasons, an elegant and efficient solution is the fixation of theon the drone.
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>Pilot and drone owner</strong>: The drones used for thermal inspections are multi-rotor heavy duty drones with 10 to 15 min autonomy that only a few people in each country/state owns a flying license for, the maintenance of the drone and the associated insurances should also be taken into account.
<li><strong>Thermal analysis expert</strong>: When solar cells are inspected from the front, a can see the heat distribution on the glass surface but can only see indirectly the heat distribution in the underlying cells. On top of that the reflectance of the glass has a severe impact on the quality of the image. A thermal analysis expert will look for the appropriate angle, distance and fly speed to optimize the time and enhance the results.
<li><strong>PV Modules expert: </strong>This is actually the most valuable activity, since thermal images only provides you malfunction evidence, but only an experienced photovoltaic expert, in other words, a PV Doctor , will lead to an accurate diagnosis case by case.
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Solar inspection with drone have astonishing result After measuring it must be possible to produce a report on notified problems. Therefore, measuring reports can be created.
use of drones to get aerial thermal images is one of the tools that enhance the photovoltaic modules’ inspection. Here you will find some facts that you should know before getting your hands on this trendy gadget.