Solar

Revolutionizing the renewable sector, one drone-based inspection at a time…. 

Vantage UAV began in 2017 specializing in the renewables industry; having grown and learnt alongside the sector, the company are well acquainted with its challenges and well-equipped with solutions. 

Vantage UAV drone-based solar services detect damage and defects fast and deliver high-quality, actionable data, whilst significantly reducing cost, time, and risk – whatever the size of your portfolio. 

Combining innovative UAV technology with end-to-end solutions and support from a team with extensive industry experience, Vantage UAV equip and inform clients, making it easy to monitor, maintain and prolong assets. 

Our Services

  • Hotspot identification  
  • Infrared panel analysis  
  • Thermographic Imaging  
  • Site mapping  
  • Pre-acquisition inspection   
  • Geotagged images 
  • Identification of abnormal thermal patterns, PV degradation, disconnected modules, cells, and connection issues 
  • Full HD recording and multispectral thermal imagery  
  • Access to industry specialists, including Thermographers 

Sky to Cloud Data Reporting 

High-quality data collected during inspections is relayed in clear, annotated reports, digitally formatted to be accessed conveniently from a desk, providing actionable information to clients so that assets can be managed easily and efficiently. Our data storage and reporting solutions offer:  

  • Cloud based platform 
  • Reporting portal which allows stakeholders to review and report upon vast data stores, quickly and easily  
  • Defects and damages are easy to read, with annotations and assigned severity ratings, enabling swift remedial action to be taken according to priority 
  • Reports have multiple user access and multiple export formats 
  • In-house data storage, archiving and analytics capabilities

Full, turn-key solutions and support

Vantage UAV deliver turnkey solutions from full project management, flight planning, piloting, offering comprehensive support from initial consultation to final report. Our range of services and extensive industry expertise allow us to craft bespoke solutions to asset management and data provision challenges. 

Vantage UAV collaborate closely with clients to understand their challenges, workflow, aims and provide the best solutions. We work with you, for you; support is always available, from real people, whenever you need it. 

Sunnier Solutions for the Solar Sector- Key uses and Benefits of Drone technology

Rising concerns about the climate, pollution, energy availability and the human and economic cost of fuel, have added urgency to the renewable energy agenda. Fortunately, solar power has been steadily rising. In 2021, global solar generation rose 23% and wind and solar combined generated 10.3% of global electricity generation. (1)

Growth is especially pronounced in the US. In 2021, a record 23.6 GW of solar power was installed in and 46% of all new electric capacity added to the grid was generated by solar (2). As of today, over 121 GW of solar capacity has been installed across the nation- enough to power 23.3 million US homes! (2)

Solar power is generally accessible, affordable, and low maintenance. However, this form of power can quickly become expensive and its potential limited in the absence of high-quality, thorough inspections.

If anomalies and damages go undetected, preventative maintenance and repairs cannot be carried out, meaning faults escalate and costs mount, jeopardizing yield, profit, and the renewable agenda.

Vantage UAV drone-based services facilitate high-quality inspections and data collection and analysis for solar assets without compromising on time, price, or safety. We work with you to integrate drone-based solar solutions into your workflow to optimize asset management- whatever the size of your portfolio. To find out more, see below!

Uses & Benefits

Time & Cost

How our solutions reduce your operating cost in the short and long term.

Challenge

Traditional or manual methods of solar inspection and data provision involve the tedious process of inspecting thousands of panels by hand, across vast expanses of a utility-scale solar farm or inspecting a sample of panels in a bid to assess system condition or faults.  

Such methods are onerous and time consuming, incurring high labor costs. Studies show that it would take around 25 hours for a technician to inspect 1MW on foot and, as one sUAS article points out, at an average wage of $35/hour, a reasonably small 5MW solar farm could cost around $8,750 to inspect! (3)  

Furthermore, manual methods of inspection risk further expense if faults go undetected due to low-quality or limited data provision. Small planes are sometimes used but, whilst quicker, this method is high-cost and produces unnecessary emissions.

Solution

Studies have proven that drones are up to 70% faster (4) and 40% (5) cheaper than manual solar inspections. Vantage UAV drone-based inspections offer easy, event free autonomous flights across pre-determined flight routes with Thermographic and HD Imaging capabilities that can cover large or hard-to-reach areas to identify issues rapidly. By reducing inspection time and downtime, our drone-technology saves costs on labor and height-access equipment.  

Beyond inspection, the high-quality data provision and asset insight provided by drones saves long-term costs by identifying damages or faults before they escalate to expensive repairs and begin to impact yield.  

Data quality and collection

Improve data quality 

Challenge

During manual inspections, technicians assess each panel with handheld thermal imaging equipment to check for cell and cable defects.  

During manual inspections, it is common for only a small sample of modules, usually 10-25%, to be surveyed. Whilst this reduces cost and time, it results in a limited scope providing inaccurate and incomplete system insight and low-quality data, risking major faults being missed and unable to be remedied before costs mount and yield suffers.  

When defects are found, personnel must manually record the location for maintenance to be performed. Accurately pinpointing exact location across vast solar farms can be difficult and errors could prevent or delay essential maintenance and repair work. 

Solution

Drone-based inspections provide full coverage of solar sites and offer a comprehensive view of large areas, fast, ensuring all panels and cables are checked and surrounding areas can be surveyed. Issues or anomalies are geotagged and presented visually, meaning decisions surrounding maintenance and repair can be taken quickly and easily.  

Vantage UAV drone-based inspections combine HD photography and recording with multispectral, Infra-Red Thermal Imaging to ensure a thorough, accurate assessment of system condition. Multispectral cameras are capable of detecting cracks, defects, rust, blemishes or breakages in the glass, hot cells, and corrosion on frames. Drones quickly identify disconnected solar photovoltaic modules and cells or structural issues such as loose or faults joints, fastenings and fixings, or PV degradation caused by wind, wear, heat, and vibration.  

Thermal Imaging is key to an effective and accurate inspection diagnosing maintenance and repair needs to save cost and maximize asset yield, life, and profit. Vantage UAV utilizes drone-based infra-red, Thermal Imaging technology, operated by a team of highly specialized Thermographers, to identify abnormalities, anomalies or underperformance across solar panels swiftly and precisely providing invaluable insight and information.  

For instance, our inspections identify hotspots, an area of high temperature causing solar cells to consume energy as opposed to generating it, overloading and overheating panels causing a short-circuit, leading to a deterioration in material condition and reduced energy output. Issues detected via thermal imaging are key to effective asset management and safeguarding as they cannot be detected visually and are often missed during traditional inspections if they fall outside of the test sample.  

The in-depth data collection enabled by drone-based inspection equips asset owners with invaluable insight and information regarding solar assets, facilitating fast and efficient decisions regarding maintenance, preventing damages and cost escalating and optimizing system health and energy yield. 

Solar Asset Insight  

Full HD recordings and High-Resolution/Thermal Imaging

Challenge

As manual methods of solar panel inspection often survey only a small sample of panels, insight into the systemic health and function of solar assets is limited.  

By providing an incomplete picture of solar asset state, manual inspections cannot always pre-empt issues leading to greater damage, cost, and downtime later down the line, risking a negative impact on renewable yield and profit. 

Solution

Following Vantage UAV inspections, data collected in-flight is used to generate easy-to-interpret annotated digital reports in our cloud-based reporting system. Full HD recordings and High-Resolution/Thermal Imaging is also stored, available to be analyzed at the client’s convenience.  

The high-quality data and information sets collected during inspection provides an efficient, ongoing method of tracking panel performance and output against yield, giving clients control and confidence in their solar asset monitoring and maintenance. Historical data records can identify and mitigate panel faults and, in some cases, panels can be monitored to avoid failure instead of being replaced.  

Receiving insight via inspection before issues escalate enables preventative measures to be taken to avoid cost, downtime, or yield impact, leaving clients highly equipped in their operations. 

Safe and Secure 

Safety is our priority 

Challenge

Manual methods of solar panel inspection pose a risk to technicians accessing heights with equipment to collect data.  

Solution

Drones can be used to access heights and hazardous areas and accurately diagnose problems, keeping inspections safe and ensuring height access is confined to the most necessary, essential maintenance works only. 

Environment

Keep your operation green

Challenge

Manual methods of inspection use cherry pickers or cranes so that technicians can reach heights, this is also the case with the use of small planes to survey larger-scale solar farms. Both methods produce Scope 3 emissions which are unnecessarily harmful to the environment and counterproductive to the renewable/clean energy agenda.  

Solution

Vantage UAV drone services lower Scope 3 emissions by eliminating the need for height-accessing equipment at the inspection phase.  

The high-quality data provision and analysis drones provide on assets optimizes renewable yield by ensuring solar systems are working efficiently and defects are detected swiftly and accurately, safeguarding the renewable agenda.  

More Services

Select your region

Europe

North America