Drones and AI to be Used for Solar Maintenance in Massachusetts

Raptor Maps and Enel Green Power North America recently signed a deal that will see the two organizations working together in developing solar asset management systems to optimize the maintenance and field operations of solar farms. Like most investments, solar farms need constant inspections and preventative maintenance to keep them fully operational.

Under a deal signed by the two Massachusetts based companies, the plan is to configure Raptor Maps’ AI (Artificial Intelligence) solution with EGPNA’s drone hardware. Using the drones and AI together, the companies will have real time inspections of the status of the solar farms.

According to the head of EGPNA, Rafael Gonzalez, the combination of the new AI software with the technologies they already had implemented in their plants will go a long way in increasing the speed and efficiency of their inspections. The results of the inspections are a lot more accurate compared to traditional methods.

According to Raptor Maps and EGPNA, data post processing is a frequent problem with drone inspections in solar power plants. By using the AI and drone hardware combination, companies will be able to save on the time and labor costs that come with infrastructure inspections, creating a quicker and more efficient process.

The project is set to begin in August, with EGPNA implementing the Raptor solar AI software across all their solar power plants. By combining their state of the art drones and camera technology with the industry leading AI software, they will be able to capture both high resolution and infrared imagery of solar panels, perform post processing operations at the data source, and provide real time analytics to help in assessing the solar panels condition.

The information is transmitted in real time to Enel Green’s Maintenance Management System, which creates and delivers an organized work order which technicians can evaluate even before the drone lands. Previously, this entire process took days.  Now with the AI software, it only takes a few hours. The project was funded in part by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Software, which earlier this year, had provided Raptor Maps and EPGNA with an InnovateMass award. Once they are done developing the project, the program could be replicated across many other renewable energy technologies throughout the country.

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