The drone detects malfunctions and defective spots on the solar installation, fast and accurately, and makes report of the analytic result on site.
The high performance thermography camera equipped with the drone detects not only hotspots but also micro-cracks on the cells (Note 1), snail-trails (Note 2) and debris (Note 3), which are hard to detect by the conventional IV curve measurement, and their seriousness is analyzed. Also, you don’t need to turn off the power generation of the installation, unlike UV curve measurement.
(Note 1) What is micro-crack? (click)
(Note 2) What is snail-trail? (click)
(Note 3) What are the debris? (click)
The micro-cracks on the cells (which happened at manufacturing of PV panels), and cracks and exfoliations happened during transport and installation of PV panels, may stop the power generation of the cluster which is connected in series with the troubled cell, overheat the cluster and cause hotspot.
Snail-trail means the phenomenon where traces like creeping trace of a snail can be seen on the panel surface. The phenomenon tells that micro-cracks on the cells are getting worse. If you left it unattended, it may cause overheating or malfunction of the panel.
Debris mean various dirt accumulated on the panel, eg. dirt, pollen, bird’s droppings, fallen leaves, ash falls, etc.
Our proprietary analytic software installed in the Ground Station PC analyzes the malfunctions and defects of the PV panels, cells and peripheral devices, and classifies the seriousness of the defects in three levels as below:Level 1：PV panels and/or cells that have light defects due to hotspots, micro-cracks or debris, which defects may worsen and reduce power yield in several months. Level 2：PV panels and/or cells having defects resulting in yield loss due to the said causes. Level 3：PV panels and/or cells that are not generating power at all due to the said causes.
The drone is also equipped with a high performance HD video camera which enables visual inspection of the installation at more than 20 times the speed of visual inspection by human eyes. The drone won’t overlook defective spots, unlike human inspector. The HD camera may also be used to take pictures at the installation’s inauguration.
The PV panel automatic cleaning robot SOLRIDER® cleans the panel arrays and prevents hotspot phenomenon from happening or worsening.
We cleaned the solar power installation at Ohsaki-cho in Kagoshima Pref. by SOLRIDER in February 2015 and confirmed that the power yield has recovered as much as 23% after cleaning, compared with the same before cleaning.
We’ve conducted similar tests at other solar installations, where 5 to 15% increase in the yield have been confirmed. It is obvious that the debris are shading the sunlight and reducing the yield, and cleaning the panels recovers the yield.
Also, when such debris as dust, fallen leaves, bird’s droppings, insect eggs and corpses are stuck to the panel surface and left unattended for a long time, they shade the cell and the cell will almost stop to generate electric power. As a result, the troubled cell may start to generate excessive heat instead of electric power, causing the PV panel to get burned or damaged. We call the phenomenon “hotspot”.
The solar farm installations cleaned with SOLRIDER have much less incidence of hotspot problems.
Also, panel cleaning with high-pressure hose water tends to leave un-cleaned or unevenly cleaned areas, which won’t happen with our cleaning service (Note 1). SOLRIDER cleans the panels evenly and thoroughly to every corner that it recovers more power yield than the conventional cleaning methods and makes the panel surface spick and spun. The rotating brushes are made of soft nylon material that they won’t abrade the panel surface. You won’t get hurt, even if you touch them while they’re rotating (Note 2).
(Note 1) Very serious, sticky dirt may need a special treatment.
(Note 2) You’re advised not to try that, as you may get hurt by the inside mechanism.
Image movie of SKYCOMBINATION