Digital tools for solar construction in the post COVID era

2 min read

Construction management solutions powered by smart apps,  drones, AI and cloud infrastructure enable complete site activity management without the need for travel and in-person meetings

Our recent experience with construction projects and conversations with solar customers in 15+ countries mirror the results of a recent survey published by PV-Tech: Coronavirus is impacting current and planned construction activities on utility-scale solar sites.

Industry participants have listed work and site access restrictions as the biggest obstacle to post-pandemic recovery, with challenges that range from travel restrictions and social distancing requirements to the real and present danger of contracting or spreading COVID at a site

A key challenge for project developers, EPC companies, and Independent Engineers in this scenario, is in managing projects effectively and on budget while  establishing new operating rules and best practices on the fly. The focus on developing new processes means that managers want to spend as little time as possible on traditionally time consuming tasks such as monitoring routine processes, reporting and daily project communication.

While it seems simple enough, the tools that can enable this change are not in the arsenal of a project manager on a typical solar construction project. While sites of today are replete with personnel sporting iPads and rugged hand-helds, pervasive digitization of processes has often been an afterthought, resulting in a mix of independent applications that are not always easy to work with, integrate and switch between. With the emergence of cloud computing, it has now become increasingly easier to create tightly integrated tools that support multiple processes and data sources. Coupled with powerful data collection and processing methods such as mobile applications, drones and AI, it is now possible to digitize almost all aspects of construction and provide critical information to site personnel at the tip of their fingers.

Figure 1: Mobile App for Site Personnel

Our software platform SenseHawk App is built to enable this transition and includes several tools that work to optimize construction

An AI enabled construction monitoring module (Eye) uses drone imagery along with on-site inputs from project managers to track civil and structural work progress, equipment staging, material tracking and more. Tracked progress is linked to a digital site model for tracking and analysis, and an intuitive  project dashboard provides key information to stakeholders and includes reporting tools to generate data for decision making.

A work management system then enables translating decisions to work packages that can be assigned to individual site techs or to teams on a digital site map.

A field app then provides site techs and team with access to assigned work on a map interface with geolocated work packages. All information required to complete assigned work can also be included as a part of work packages.

The app also enables recording of events, punch list items and defects with a simple tap on the screen. The ability to attach photographs and information event reports/defects and punch list items makes it easy to share information with site managers without having to walk/drive back to the site office for a face-face meeting. Integrated checklists supported by templates and saved work packages enable digitization of processes such as quality, defect resolution, and inspection.

Interesting?  contact us for more information.

SenseHawk

SenseHawk

SenseHawk, Inc. is a provider of cloud based drone data analytics and productivity tools for the solar industry. With customers in 15 countries, SenseHawk solutions are used by solar & EPC companies for terrain analytics, construction monitoring, thermography and task management on solar sites

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