At A Glance
- The Client needed to assess panel health of 2.5 mn panels across 1,000 hectares
- Drone thermography and analytics identified >15,000 +hotspot anomalies in solar panels
- The impact from rectification of anomalies estimated to be up to $9,000 per day
One of the leading Solar Developers in India was grappling with a critical challenge – how could they assess the health of over 2.5 million solar panels and improve generation at their 700+ MWp plant efficiently? This massive solar plant, among the largest in the world, covers a large area of over 1,000 hectares, equivalent to 900+ soccer fields. The developer wanted to identify defective panels that were causing power losses quickly. Even a 1% power loss is equal to over $300,000 in energy revenue loss.
The conventional method of panel thermography using a handheld Infrared was out of the question for this plant. Hence the company approached SenseHawk to conduct Drone Thermography and use SenseHawk software solutions to simplify the identification and rectification of defective solar panels.
SenseHawk deployed its drone analytics solution which involved drone overflights covering the 1000 hectare plant in under 15 days. The SenseHawk team created a digital twin of the solar plant on the platform using the CAD files of the project. Infrared Images collected by the drone were stitched together to generate an OrthoMosaic heatmap of the plant referenced to the plant’s digital layout. SenseHawk’s AI engine automatically detected and classified the hotspots into various defect types with accurate geolocation reference.
The outputs were summarized in the form of a dashboard accessed through the SenseHawk Therm Web Application. The dashboard provides an overview of the temperature differences between panels and counts of issues causing the hotspot anomalies; such as string failure, diode failure, wiring issue, vegetation etc. A map view of the defects made it easy to visualize the hotspot anomalies overlaid on the plant layout.
The scan identified over 15,000 defects in the plant that were estimated to cause ~$9000 per day of lost production. A field examination performed by the Client confirmed all the critical anomalies with 100% accuracy. The SenseHawk application helped the Client identify the highest priority issues to fix first and direct repair teams to the specific module in question with exact geolocation on site. SenseHawk Mobile App made it extremely convenient to identify the defects in the field and rectify them. This entire exercise resulted in over 1% improvement in plant generation with an effective payback of less than 60 days.
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