This is an excerpt of an article by Scott Duffin, published in Renewable Energy World
As the cost of solar electricity has fallen, the number of grid-connected solar PV systems has grown into the millions and utility and energy companies are building solar power stations with hundreds of megawatts (MW). Solar PV is rapidly becoming an inexpensive, low-carbon technology to harness renewable energy from the sun. The current largest PV power station in the world is the 850 MW Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, in Qinghai, China. In the U.S., California boasts four of the world’s largest plants.
Solar plants inspections are vital to ensuring the solar cells are performing properly, minimizing potential power loss; they are also legally required to maintain certification. By law, solar plants need to be scanned with an infrared camera annually. Drones can provide a comprehensive look by providing accurate imagery of a plant in significantly less time, and with greater accuracy, than it might take for a handheld inspection. Drones are bringing airborne analytics to utility-scale solar operations like PV equipment inspections, resulting in strong time and cost savings. Further, drones and the sophisticated software that powers them are transforming operations and management practices for commercial solar companies. Read more here.