INTERVIEW - Wesii launches string and tracker aerial inspections for winter 2022/23
November 21 (Renewables Now) - Winter is coming and with it a perfect period to make sure solar power plants are in optimal shape for the upcoming peak season. Italy-based Wesii is ready with its aerial thermography schedule for the first few months of 2023. CEO Mauro Migliazzi spoke to Renewables Now about the speed and ease of string and tracker aerial inspections and the time and money solar farm operators can save choosing this news service.
Would you say that winter is the best time for solar plants to check if your photovoltaic plant is ready for the sunny days that are coming in the spring?
This may come to a shock to some readers, but yes, winter is an optimal time to inspect your equipment to get ready for the peak season. It is just that it has not been possible to do it in a big scale way as it is now.
As an industry we are used to performing traditional thermography during spring and summer to check the health status of solar farms. While this is imperative, there are also other checks we can do using thermal cameras in the winter months to check not the panels, but the strings and trackers. Issues with such equipment have proven to be among the leading causes of energy loss. Identifying and fixing these could be a simple process when you have at your disposal faster and more efficient ways to perform inspections.
What are the services offered by Wesii in support of this process?
This winter we are offering for the first time ever string and tracker monitoring to check the status of the solar plant. The report is ready within the first 24-48 hours.
As we spoke about in our previous interview, we have been using airplanes to conduct thermographic inspections for two years now. While our winter service is slightly different, we will still use the same cameras and airplane to gather the data. With two years of experience under our belt, we have discovered that by using airplanes we are able to quickly gather the data during the optimal irradiation times within the small window we have in winter.
What is your schedule for aerial thermography this winter?
Due to the small window of time we have limited space available. We will be flying over Italy and Spain in January and February; Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France in March and April.
Of course the exact dates will vary depending on the weather and the location of the plants for the booked inspections.
Why would an asset manager/owner choose aerial inspection instead of sending a technical team to do a thorough check?
Plain and simple… it will save them time and money. Typically companies use the amperometric clamp to perform an on/off string test and then use that information to perform maintenance, which takes a hefty amount of man power and therefore the money to pay the team. By choosing the aerial inspection option, which is the same type of test but executed with our thermal camera instead of the amperometric clamp, the client will receive a return of investment that is five to seven times the amount spent on this inspection as fixing all issues will boost the output. Furthermore, without any additional effort on the part of the client, they get a report within 24-48 hours of the actual inspection and can easily plan their maintenance activities accordingly. Thus puts them in the perfect position to produce the maximum amount of energy during peak season.
So, things happen faster and the cost for the power plant operator is reduced. Still, these flights have some emissions?
By flying multiple plants in clusters we are able to inspect plants of all sizes without increasing the carbon footprint of the task. We know being green is important to all our clients and it is to us as well.