Solar Farm Thermal Drone Survey for Hobsons Brewery

Hobsons Brewery has a 30kW solar panel on its facility, spanning over 3 small buildings. Each solar cell has its own driver chip, its own circuitry, so it isn’t run in series.

We ran a routine inspection of the panels and found a total of 4 faulty panels which can be easily distinguished by their temperature. With a thermal camera on a drone you can find heat anomalies in a fraction of the time.

Most problems will show as a hot spot or cold spot although defective bypass diodes display as a ‘patchwork’ pattern. In the images displayed on this project, you can see the patchwork of overheating elements and heat damage on the panels. One the faulty panels the temperature variation was between 35°C and 65°C for the hotter parts.

Amongst other things, we were also able to see the typical bird droppings and a few chips on the glass protecting on some of the solar cells.

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Comparison between visible and infrared view of the main facility.
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Faults not visible in standard visible light.
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Defective bypass diodes display as a ‘patchwork’ pattern.
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Overview of roof in visible light
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IR view showing three overheating panels, one on far left and the other two near centre.

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