DroneBase extends drone solar energy surveys to include manned aircraft

Santa Monica-based aerial imaging and data processing specialist DroneBase is bolstering its services to solar energy customers with piloted aircraft surveys to conduct annual infrastructure audits that complement the company’s routine drone inspections.

DroneBase operates on an innovative structure serving a range of corporate customers in partnership with enthusiastic drone pilots around the world whom it trains, certifies and collaborates with on survey missions. In the case of solar energy customers, the company is now also offering to further develop its drone infrastructure analysis with manned aircraft scans to enable perfect thermal imaging inspections of large-scale facilities.

This additional aerial coverage will be provided as part of DroneBase’s North American Solar Scan (NASS) program, which is scheduled to begin later this year. As part of this offering, the Company will provide eligible solar customers with piloted overflights of larger facilities to complete thermal imaging. These take place in the spring and fall and coincide with the usual peak periods of activity for solar energy companies.

“Our North American Solar Scan makes it easy to get an annual health check for solar power systems,” said Mark Culpepper, DroneBase’s general manager for global solar solutions, which oversees NASS operations, which begin in a few months. “One click and your utility-scale solar energy system or your entire distributed portfolio can be scanned as part of our spring NASS itinerary.”

According to DroneBase, the NASS offering will cover all major US solar markets including California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as major Canadian provinces such as Ontario. The company says the use of manned aircraft flights will further expand the range of data collected and, combined with the regular drone missions it conducts over solar power infrastructure, will provide full sets.

Thermal inspections by drone are particularly effective for systems in urban or emerging markets and for spot inspections, the company says. Surveys by manned flights are most commonly used for utility scale systems or large distributed facilities.

“Both the number and size of solar power systems is growing exponentially,” said Dan Burton, CEO of DroneBase. “It’s not enough to deploy a system and hope it produces as much clean energy as possible. These systems must be checked annually. But doing this once or twice a year can be a significant operational burden for owners and operators. We continuously invest in automation, AI and machine learning so our customers can focus on what matters most – expanding their portfolio and delivering as much clean energy as possible.”

DroneBase also provides intelligent aerial imaging services to insurers, owners and operators of high-value infrastructure, and customers in construction, commercial real estate, property management, and solar and wind energy companies. To this end, the company recruits, trains and employs thousands of drone pilots around the world to collect data and facilitate audits to increase the efficiency of the inspected facilities.

Photo: America Public Power Association

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