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Raptor Maps, the global leader in aerial thermography software, released a first of its kind industry report on the factors that most affect production. The company leveraged its data repository of digital photovoltaic (PV) systems to query 2,900 MW across 18 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 condition 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 13 million modules across 300 PV systems, and showed that on average, 1.7% of production is affected. 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).

“As an industry, we have made tremendous progress in ushering in an era of standardized, scalable modeling and analytical techniques,” explains Edward Obropta, Raptor Maps’ CTO. “The fact that we can encode module-by-module analytics into a global, geospatial PV data structure, and simplify it into a digestible summary, is just the beginning of the bright future that lies ahead for PV.”

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