Top 3 Mistakes Solar Asset Managers Make When Working with Aerial Data

28 Jun 2018

It’s easy to be swayed by the latest technology in the hopes of achieving operational efficiency and maximizing profitability, a key outcome most solar asset managers strive for. Aerial data analytics are one of those technologies helping managers streamline their workflows and better manage their solar sites.

What is often the case is managers focus on the wrong aspects of these technologies. Aerial data providers should be able to give managers the tools to dig deeper and better understand the state of their site in order to make important business decisions. Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid and how to get the best of drone technologies for data acquisition.

Mistake 1: Focus on the drone

Hardware is an important requirement in the process, but always remember what matters most is when the data actually meets your objectives.

Drones certainly facilitate the data acquisition process of your solar site inspection, survey, and mapping. But drones are simply a means to an end: to deliver high quality data about your solar site that can help you make relevant business decisions. Here at Sitemark we take care of everything related to the hardware, the pilot, and regulation when acquiring data for your site. Your organization doesn’t have to worry about building in-house drone capabilities, finding qualified pilots, amongst other requirements for a successful mission.

As an asset manager, you should make sure that your provider uses the equipment that matches the actual objectives of your site. This should include compliance with the latest IEC standard for outdoor thermographic (infrared) inspection of photovoltaic modules and plants in operation.

Mistake 2: Trusting your thermography report

Swipe compare (left) and photo mode(right), two of the many features from our platform that provide additional analysis possibilities.

Thermography reports are an absolute must for every solar site inspection, survey, and/or mapping. We are extremely proud about how our algorithms excel at finding all anomalies, classifying them into categories, and giving you an actionable list and complete statistics about them. However, we will always encourage you to go beyond the results. When you receive raw data in combination with high-caliber analytics, then the possibilities of what you can do are simply endless! You no longer have to blindly trust a report that leaves you with no way of digging in to check for any further anomalies.

Your analytics tool needs to provide you with the various features that will allow you to go deeper into your site’s data. Along with high level reports, some of these features can include high resolution photos and pixel measurement tools for delving deeper into specific problems, and/or full maps displaying each and every anomaly. Your tools should give you complete freedom and the luxury to work with the data in every which way.

Mistake 3: Tools that cause more hassle

Left: Photo layer that allows you to view raw images of a specific location on your site (both RGB and thermal). Right: Customers can upload string maps on site level to better understand PID issues

Powerful analytics play an important role in key decision making about the productivity of your site. But it is also very important to choose tools that work for you and not the type that leave you to do all the work. Why send very large files, such as images or reports when you can simply use a platform like Sitemark and furthermore provide the right access to your colleagues so they can also interact with the data?

Look for tools that provide to you ease of use and collaboration. Tools that you can access from different locations and devices without the need to install any specific software. A platform where you can see, read, and measure everything about your site.

Our solution helps solar sites achieve efficiencies and meet their operational outcomes. Learn more about how our platform can help your sites