Raptor Maps Releases 2020 Global Solar Aerial Thermography Report

Raptor Maps Releases 2020 Global Solar Aerial Thermography Report

Raptor Maps overview aerial inspection

Download the report below.

BOSTON, MA, January 29, 2020—Raptor Maps, the global leader in aerial thermography software and analytics, released its annual report on factors affecting production in PV systems. The company leveraged a subset of its data repository of PV system “digital twins” to query 7,880 MW across 25 countries and 6 continents to help PV system owners and operators benchmark and improve their portfolios.

 

Aerial thermography is the practice of assessing and monitoring photovoltaic (PV) system conditions using data captured via an aircraft equipped with a thermal camera. The technique is increasingly required by asset owners and financiers for performance verification and risk mitigation.

 

The study encompassed 31 million modules across more than 800 PV systems and showed that on average, 1.6% of power production is affected (compared with 1.7% from the previous year). Classifications included in the study include equipment (e.g., inverter, combiner, tracker), environmental (e.g., shadowing, soiling), and module-level findings (e.g., cracking, delamination, and activated bypass diodes).

 

“The rapid growth in solar PV combined with decreasing PPA prices is forcing the industry to find every MWh of lost production and restore it,” explains Nikhil Vadhavkar, Raptor Maps’ CEO. “Our goal is to ensure that existing solar assets are meeting or exceeding expected returns, while providing critical feedback for new portfolios under development.”

Technical information regarding data collection protocols and API reference available at docs.raptormaps.com.

Complete the form to access the report. 

© 2020 Raptor Maps, Inc.

info@raptormaps.com

444 Somerville Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143

Webinar Recap: Live Q&A with Raptor Maps and FLIR: Thermal Drones and Solar Inspections

Webinar Recap: Live Q&A with Raptor Maps and FLIR: Thermal Drones and Solar Inspections

Raptor Maps partnered with FLIR Systems for a live 5-part webinar series on the use of thermal drones in solar inspections. The 5th part was a live Q&A webinar, the following summary of the questions asked and our answers can be viewed below. 

The first 4 parts of the webinar series are free on-demand videos discussing the following topics:

1. The Value of Adding Thermal for Solar Inspections

2. Thermal Drone Best Practices

3. Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Service Provider

4. Limitations of Thermal Drone Inspections

Part 5: Live Q&A Webinar

 

View the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=UTRukkQf9Cw

 

Below, are some of the questions we were able to get to with a summary of our answers given. 

What are some of the general uses of this technology in the solar space? 

There are many uses for thermal drones in the solar space. To start, when a solar farm is built doing a thermal inspection of it will confirm that the site was built correctly and the components are working properly. After that, either quarterly, semi-annually, or annually are also times that the solar PV system can be inspected. Doing this regularly will help the solar PV system be as productive as possible, allow you to know if the anomalies are warranty related issues, and make sure it reaches its full potential lifetime.  

What is the demand for drone companies in the solar industry?

There is a massive demand for drone companies performing thermal inspections on solar PV systems. In the last 6 months we have seen a sharp increase in the number of drone service providers entering the solar space because solar asset owners are demanding them. As the awareness of the benefits that using thermal drones in these inspections grows, more companies will look to adopt the technology in place of other inspection methods. 

One reason for the rapid growth is because currently a lot of solar PV systems are in uncontrolled airspace, allowing for drone service providers to be able to quickly and easily perform the inspection without having to go through regulations.  

 

At what size of a Solar PV system does an aerial solar inspection become valuable?

The answer to this is also very dependent on the age of the solar farm. For instance, a smaller but older solar PV site being inspected could bring considerable value to the ones receiving the report because as the PV systems age, the likelihood of anomalies occurring increases. We have found that anything over 100 kW, or roughly half an acre, is enough of a benchmark to see valuable results. The speed and accuracy that thermal drone inspections offer generates enough ROI to be chosen as the inspection method the next time an inspection is needed. 

For reference, one megawatt is roughly 5 acres in size. 

 

How does Raptor Maps train and qualify drone pilots, and how do I start a drone pilot program? 

For clarity, Raptor Maps does not offer a drone training program. We recommend going to well received places and using our, and FLIR’s resources on drone best practices. 

To start doing solar inspections, we recommend doing hands on drone training with your specific payload. You should take an in field drone training class. This will allow you to fully utilize the features of your equipment.  

 

Are you interested in learning more about UAS, drone inspections of solar assets, and having your data converted PV analytics and system reports? If so, please contact us here and our team will be in touch.

 

About FLIR, FLIR Systems is the world’s largest commercial company specializing in the design and production of thermal imaging cameras, components and imaging sensors, widely used in solar inspections performed by thermal drones. FLIR Systems was established in 1978 to pioneer the development of high-performance, low-cost infrared (thermal) imaging systems for airborne applications. They have serviced the needs of  customers all over the world. 

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Limitations of Thermal Drone Inspections

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Limitations of Thermal Drone Inspections

Raptor Maps partnered with FLIR for a five-part series with four videos and a live Q&A webinar on the use of thermal drones for solar inspection. The 4 part video series covers a variety of topics, such as the benefits of thermal cameras in solar inspections, best practices for inspections, questions to ask before hiring a service provider, and the limitations of thermal drones in solar inspections.

 

Video 4: Planning For a Successful Thermal Inspection

This video covers:

  • Camera and Environmental Limitations
  • Irradiance & Operating Status
  • Coverage & Flight Times

In the last part of the video series before the live webinar, the current limitations of the hardware are discussed. You will learn about the limitations of the actual hardware, like the camera’s themselves. You will also learn about outside factors that can be limiting, like environmental limitations, and irradiance and operating issues. Lastly, the video will discuss limitations within coverage and flight times. 

Check out the other videos in the series!

1                2               3               4

Are you interested in learning more about thermal drone inspections of solar assets, and having your data converted PV analytics and system reports? If so, please contact us here and our team will be in touch.

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Service Provider

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Service Provider

Raptor Maps partnered with FLIR for a five-part series with four videos and a live Q&A webinar on the use of thermal drones for solar inspection. The 4 part video series covers a variety of topics, such as the benefits of thermal cameras in solar inspections, best practices for inspections, questions to ask before hiring a service provider, and the limitations of thermal drones in solar inspections.

 

Video 3: Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Service Provider

This video covers:

  • Experience Levels
  • Payloads & Software
  • Deliverables & Timelines

Video Summary

This video will go over the questions you should ask before you hire a service provider to perform your thermal drone solar inspections. The questions will give you an idea of the service providers quality and experience. These questions will pertain to their knowledge of environmental regulations, insurance considerations, experience in the field, their hardware, and their software and deliverables.

 

Check out the other videos in the series!

1                2               3               4

Are you interested in learning more about thermal drone inspections of solar assets, and having your data converted PV analytics and system reports? If so, please contact us here and our team will be in touch.

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Thermal Drone Best Practices

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Thermal Drone Best Practices

Raptor Maps partnered with FLIR for a five-part series with four videos and a live Q&A webinar on the use of thermal drones for solar inspection. The 4 part video series covers a variety of topics, such as the benefits of thermal cameras in solar inspections, best practices for inspections, questions to ask before hiring a service provider, and the limitations of thermal drones in solar inspections.

 

Video 2: Thermal Drone Best Practices

This video covers:

  • Hardware Considerations
  • Producing Quality Deliverables
  • Identifying False Positives
  • Why Dual Sensors are Critical 

Video Summary

This video will discuss the best practices to be followed when performing a solar inspection with a thermal drone. It also highlights things that should be considered, such as environmental factors, and hardware considerations. As well as how to produce high quality imagery and deliverables, identifying false positives, and the importance of dual camera payloads. 

 

Check out the other videos in the series!

1                2               3               4

Are you interested in learning more about thermal drone inspections of solar assets, and having your data converted PV analytics and system reports? If so, please contact us here and our team will be in touch.

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Value of Adding Thermal for Solar Inspection

Raptor Maps and FLIR: Value of Adding Thermal for Solar Inspection

Raptor Maps partnered with FLIR for a five-part series with four videos and a live Q&A webinar on the use of thermal drones for solar inspection. The 4 part video series covers a variety of topics, such as the benefits of thermal cameras in solar inspections, best practices for inspections, questions to ask before hiring a service provider, and the limitations of thermal drones in solar inspections.

 

 

Video 1: Value of Adding Thermal for Solar Inspection

This video covers:  

  • Manual Electrical Testing for PV Fields
  • The Basics of Aerial Thermography
  • Thermography Considerations for Solar Inspection

Video Summary

This video explains the process of using a manual electrical testing inspection method. In addition, it breaks down the multitude of benefits that come from using thermal drones when performing your solar inspections. Lastly, the video offers all of the major points to know when it comes to thermal drones and solar inspections

Check out the other videos in the series!

1                2               3               4
 

 

 

Are you interested in learning more about thermal drone inspections of solar assets, and having your data converted PV analytics and system reports? If so, please contact us here and our team will be in touch.