Advantages of using a drone for the construction of a solar photovoltaic plant
Drones have been one of the great technological revolutions of recent decades. What was unthinkable a few years ago in terms of technology and price, today is practically within everyone's reach. These small flying devices are revolutionizing a multitude of processes and are proving their usefulness to solve problems in very diverse sectors such as transport, leisure, security… and of course renewable energies.
It no longer seems strange to us to see a drone flying over a photovoltaic solar plant, in fact, it is practically the order of the day. And it is that according to the study 'Renewable Drones Market 2022' it is expected that the use of drones for renewable projects will grow considerably by the year 2030, exceeding 152 million dollars of investment worldwide and with a CAGR (Annual Growth Rate Composite) of 26.5%.
At Vector Renewables, we are very aware of the great advantages that the use of these devices entails in terms of quality, safety and efficiency, which is why we have already integrated them into some of our technical equipment. The flight autonomy of a drone allows us to capture images with exquisite quality, greatly facilitating the supervision of the construction of a plant. That is why in this post we wanted to highlight some of these advantages:
- Greater scope of inspections for working at height. If there is something that makes drones unique, it is the possibility of contemplating large spaces from a bird's eye view. This plane, to which human beings are not very accustomed, allows us to see a plant with immense surfaces at a glance. If we calculate that a plant of about 50 MW occupies more than 70 hectares, the drone can become our best ally to have a global view of the work in progress.
- Better traceability of the evolution of the work being carried out. The drones allow instant capture in the different phases of the construction of the project. A time lapse of the plant surface from its inception until the completion of the works is a very useful way to visually determine the changes that have been taking place. But if we collect this information on a weekly or monthly basis, we can obtain some interesting data such as validation of project milestones, improvements in quality control, advances in logistics planning, etc.
- Arrival in areas of difficult access. In a recent post, we talked about the importance of access to the plant when starting construction. Thus, land with slopes of more than 10% will make access difficult for vehicles transporting the main equipment. For a drone, this is not a problem since its small size and agility during flight allows it to access spaces up to 10 km away remotely.
- Supervision tool adapted to projects with long distances. Conventional drones can reach a speed of over 50 km/h, which can mean significant time savings. In addition, photovoltaic plants are located in places with very high solar radiation where temperatures can reach 50 degrees. The use of a drone to cover distances at these temperatures can lead to an improvement in work procedures and, therefore, a greater protection of the security of the workers involved.
Once again, the importance of innovation and technology in renewables remains valid and, although there is still a long way to go, the reality is that the improvements that a drone can provide throughout the life cycle of a photovoltaic solar plant are more than obvious. In this post we have only addressed some advantages that exist during construction, but these devices can also prevent accidents by performing a task from a safe distance during plant maintenance or even cleaning the modules.
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