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Integrated system for the automated inspection of photovoltaic parks using IR-thermography via autonomous aerial vehicles (drones)

Overview

Photovoltaic parks (PVPs) are among the most promising renewable energy technologies, and will be a key component of the future smart energy grids. A significant technological disadvantage of PVPs is the time-consuming and costly inspection and quality control processes, via manual infrared spectroscopic measurements. Moreover, the results of such measurements depend on the environmental conditions and their interpretation is prone to human errors, leading to incorrect conclusions, delayed damage identification, poor maintenance and reduced efficiency. Recently, there are some promising efforts on drone-assisted aerial IR thermography. However, these still rely on manual control by a specialized drone operator who needs to be on site. Also, there is no support for the coordinated use of multiple drones, which is needed to cover medium to large sized PVPs. Addressing these problems, the project aims to develop and evaluate, through a real-world pilot, an integrated system for the automated monitoring of PVPs using aerial infrared (IR) thermography conducted by multiple drones, resulting to (a) reduced inspection duration, (b) improved quality and accuracy of the evaluation process, and (c) direct assessment of PV failures for better energy harvesting.

PV-Auto-Scout Integrated system for the automated inspection of photovoltaic parks using IR-thermography via autonomous aerial vehicles (drones) Overview Photovoltaic parks (PVPs) are among