O&M Data Requirements

Image collection and data requirements for solar operation and maintenance inspections.

 

 

Note: Do NOT fly within 2 hours of sunrise or sunset.

 

Thermal Imagery

All IR inspections require Obliques to be flown. For more information on how to capture Obliques, see here.

 

Ground Sample Distance

Type of Inspection

Description
Smallest Visible Features
Ground Sample Distance
Maximum Speed

Raptor Overview

Ideal for rapid drone flights and string-level outages
Module
15.0 ± 5.0 cm/pixel
30 mph

Raptor Standard

Ideal for annual preventative maintenance
Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
5.5 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
12 mph

Raptor Comprehensive

Meets IEC TS 62446-3 thermography standards for Absolute Temperature Accuracy
Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
3.0 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
7 mph

Image Resolution

640×512 pixels or greater.

Field of View

Horizontal field of view 30-50 degrees.

Gimbal Pitch

Perpendicular to solar modules. See this video for more information.

Overlap

70% front overlap (direction of flight) and 20% side overlap.

Image Alignment

The horizontal edge of the image aligns with the long edge of the solar rows.*
*See special instructions for fixed-wing drones

File Format

Radiometric JPEG (R-JPEG).
Metadata must contain GPS location, relative altitude, gimbal pitch, gimbal yaw, gimbal roll and timestamp.

Image Quality

Imagery must be free from motion blur.
Imagery must contain minimal glare.

 

Visible (RGB) Imagery

 

Ground Sample Distance

Type of Inspection

Description
Smallest Visible Features
Ground Sample Distance

Raptor Overview

Ideal for rapid drone flights and string-level outages
Module
5.0 ± 1.0 cm/pixel

Raptor Standard

Ideal for annual preventative maintenance
Cell
2.0 ± 1.0 cm/pixel

Raptor Comprehensive

Ideal for warranty and commissioning
Sub-cell
1.0 ± 0.5 cm/pixel

Image Resolution

4000×3000 pixels or greater.

Field of View

50 degrees or greater.

Gimbal Pitch

Nadir (straight down) with deviation up to 20 degrees acceptable (to avoid glare).

Overlap

80% front overlap (direction of flight) and 20% side overlap.

Image Alignment

The horizontal edge of the image aligns with the long edge of the solar rows.*
*See special instructions for fixed-wing drones.

File Format

JPEG
Metadata must contain GPS location, relative altitude, gimbal pitch, gimbal yaw, gimbal roll and timestamp.

Image Quality

Imagery must be free from motion blur.
Imagery must contain minimal glare.

 

Environmental Conditions

  • Clear skies and sunny or slightly overcast
  • Irradiance greater or equal to 600 Watts per square meter
  • We recommend irradiance meter use to confirm sufficient irradiance.
  • If requested, pilots will be required to supply Raptor Maps with images proving POA irradiance from a sensor. If pilots cannot prove irradiance was above 600 Watts per square meter throughout the flight, a reflight will be required.
  • Humidity ideally less than 60%
  • Wind below 6.7 m/s (15 MPH)

 

Special Considerations

  • In the event that an inverter, combiner, or other large piece of equipment is offline, pilots must wait at least a 30 minutes after re-energization of this equipment before conducting any aerial thermography inspection. Irradiance must be >600W/m2 in this time period and remain >600W/m2 during the flight.
  • In the event that during an aerial thermography flight irradiance drops below 600W/m2, the pilot must pause the inspection and wait 5 minutes after the irradiance returns to >600W/m2 prior to resuming the mission.

 

Sensor Heading

For both IR and RGB inspection-level imagery sets, sensor heading must remain fixed throughout the flight. For example, if flying a fixed-tilt, ground mount site with panels facing south, the sensor should face North throughout the flight.

The sensor orientation remains consistent with each pass.

Maintaining a fixed sensor heading may require manual intervention by the Pilot in Command depending on the flight software in use. Reference the videos in our specific flight operations guidelines for more information.

 

Base Layer Imagery

An additional data set is required to collect base layer imagery if the site is less than 1 year old and/or no satellite imagery is available.

Same requirements as RGB Imagery except the following deviations.

Ground Sample Distance

5.0 ± 1.0 cm/pixel.

Gimbal Pitch

Nadir (straight down) with deviation up to 10 degrees acceptable (to avoid glare).

Overlap

70% front overlap (direction of flight) and 70% side overlap.

 

Uploading Data

All data should be uploaded the same day the flight occurs. For flights that take place over multiple days, the data should be uploaded the same day it is captured.