Mobile test equipment is essential for fault detection and performance monitoring of large-scale PV installations. The Australian PV Institute has contributed to an international review of available land-based aerial and wearable technologies and how to deploy them to achieve reliable and relevant results.

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“What really impressed me was how much technology has advanced in monitoring the performance and reliability of PV,” said Dr David Parlevliet, deputy director of engineering and energy from Murdoch University. fashion magazine when a report he co-authored for the Australian PV Institute (APVI) on portable on-site inspection methods for PV was released last week.

The report – “Qualification of photovoltaic power plants using mobile test equipment– was published by the task 13 of photovoltaic power systems of the International Energy Agency. It incorporates contributions from participating countries around the world, with the aim of keeping the PV industry abreast of the latest technologies and best practices to optimize PV performance.

The value of large-scale PV installations is based on the modules performing at their intended yield, but the sheer scale of many PV installations today means that 100% technical inspection is impractical.

“In Australia, drones play an important role in identifying underperforming power plants,” said a statement from APVI, which partnered with international contributors for the report.

fashion magazine recently reported, for example, on the decision of the South Australian utility company SA Water to bring in a UK specialist in aerial solar inspection and data analysis Above to monitor the performance of its 370,000 solar panels deployed at 33 separate sites as part of the utility’s Zero Cost Energy Future initiative.

Rapid advances in infrared inspection using drones mean that aerial surveillance now provides a clear overview of the operational status of installed PV panels, as well as the identification of specific PV strings or modules for further analysis. detailed using mobile PV test centers, APVI said.

It is important to note that the quality of these on-site inspection results is now comparable to the knowledge gained from laboratory tests and can reliably contribute to the information required to implement repairs and justify warranty claims on products. faulty panels, without the need to send them to offsite laboratories for evaluation. . This in turn poses the risk of damage to the panels during transport and can lead to long downtimes of one or more PV strings.

Parlevliet is also the Chief Remote Pilot at Murdoch University and brings extensive experience of drone capabilities and the regulations governing their safe deployment to his work on paper.

“The drones themselves are significantly more advanced than they even were in recent years,” he said. He noted that they have become more commercially available and the cost of the technology has come down, so “you can get an infrared equipped system from a common drone manufacturer for a few thousand dollars, which makes it much more accessible to small businesses or users. “

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