Raptor Maps, senseFly partner on thermal drone solar plant inspection offering

Swiss-based drone provider senseFly is partnering with Raptor Maps on its new senseFly Solar 360 offering. This thermal drone solution enables the automatic assessment of solar plant performance at a sub-module level.

Created by combining eBee X fixed-wing drone technology, senseFly’s Duet T thermal mapping camera, and Raptor Maps’ software, senseFly Solar 360 is a fast and fully-automated solution. It is easily integrated into solar management workflows without requiring either drone piloting skills or the manual analysis of aerial solar farm data.

“At senseFly we are continually looking across the industry to identify new commercial partners with whom we can bring to market what our customers need, which is vertically-focused end-to-end solutions,” said Gilles Labossière, CEO of senseFly. “With Raptor Maps, we are collaborating with a true solar industry pioneer. Their software takes the guesswork out of solar farm inspection and, crucially, speeds up this process — from days down to hours. This efficiency, combined with the eBee X’s large coverage and reliability, ensures that farm owners and operators — or the drone service providers they employ — can inspect utility-scale solar farms more quickly, easily, and accurately than ever before.”

Solar power is the largest source of new energy generation in the world,” said Nikhil Vadhavkar, CEO of Raptor Maps. “This rapid growth has fueled demand for industry-specific solutions to allow solar customers to scale. Our enterprise-grade software has been deployed across six continents and 25 million solar panels to increase power production and reduce risk and maintenance cost across solar portfolios. We are proud to collaborate with senseFly, the industry leaders in commercial fixed-wing drones, to increase access to Raptor Maps while providing a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that scales with the solar industry.”

senseFly Solar 360 allows for efficient solar farm inspection:

  • Users can inspect up to 75 MW in a single day, enhancing operational efficiency by up to 15-times versus ground inspection using a handheld thermographic sensor.
  • The senseFly eBee X drone can fly for up to 70 minutes when carrying the senseFly Duet T thermal/RGB mapping camera, allowing operators to almost double the inspection coverage they can achieve compared to multi-rotor systems.
  • With Raptor Maps’ software’s minimal image requirements, users can conduct drone inspections at least five-times faster than using photogrammetry (image-stitching)-based programs.

The new offering provides easy, accurate reports:

  • The eBee X drone captures radiometric thermal and visual RGB imagery without the need for a trained pilot.
  • The Raptor Maps software then generates a detailed and actionable inspection report, using the eBee X’s RGB and thermal imagery to identify, classify, and localize anomalies automatically.
  • The eBee X thermal drone is an inherently safe, end-to-end integrated solution, thanks to its low kinetic energy, lightweight nature and range of configurable, aviation-inspired fail safes.

senseFly Solar 360 has a quick return on investment:

  • Raptor Maps users report $2,000/MW of previously-undetected production impact and the ability to directly replace manual electrical testing. In the case of a 25-MW site, this equates to breaking even on your senseFly Solar 360 investment after just one flight.
  • senseFly Solar 360 minimizes staff time on-site and thus associated labor costs. It achieves this via the eBee X’s extensive single-flight coverage, which reduces the number of battery changes required, while Raptor Maps software helps to drive significant cost savings by requiring 80% fewer images for its analysis than competing software.
  • The eBee X’s RGB camera data helps to deliver further cost benefits by generating a geo-accurate digital terrain model, which can be used to optimize a farm’s design.
  • This drone inspection solution also facilitates more frequent PV solar farm inspections, allowing problems at the string, module and cell level to be detected before they impact yield or cause a wider technical issue.

senseFly Solar 360 is supplied with the customer’s choice of Data Pack. These Data Packs are available in 50-MW, 100-MW and 200-MW variants, depending on the output capacity a customer expects to assess over the course of a year.

senseFly Solar 360 will be available to order via senseFly distribution partners beginning in June.

News item from senseFly

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