The demand for drone inspection of wind turbines has increased significantly in recent years. Turbine blades need to be regularly monitored for deterioration and damage, and before drone inspection, the wind energy sector relied on industrial rope crews who put themselves at considerable risk. Even then, a rope crew can’t safely get out to the blades to look at them. With a drone, detailed quality images are much easier and safer to obtain, recording assets, pinpointing damage and collecting data without exposing workers to extreme danger.
A drone in the air above a wind turbine site can gather information and images to be used for monitoring, mapping, planning, and structural analysis. And with a thermal camera attached, visual inspections can be carried out to detect conductor hot spots or broken insulators. As well, drones can map and create 3D images, giving engineers and operators highly detailed views of damage such as cracks or erosion without having to stop turbines from spinning.
The lifespan of a solar panel depends on regular and efficient maintenance. Traditionally, operators relied on long and tedious on-foot surveys, with inspectors walking the aisles of a solar farm carrying handheld infrared cameras; or they would use of manned, aerial flights at low levels surveying the panels with a thermal camera. Not only did these methods take a lot of time and money, but employees were placed in unsafe conditions, as well.
Today, solar farm operators use drone technology to quickly and easily record images and video footage of installations, and analyze data without putting anyone at risk. Drone inspections pinpoint damage and provide updated imagery of damage, cracks, or shading. And, not only can a drone detect damage on a solar panel, it can also monitor the panel’s health. With infrared cameras, defects and temperature imbalances are easily identified, maintaining maximum output.
A drone survey is a fast, economical way to stay on top of maintenance, and keep your solar installation running at optimal efficiency.