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UAVs Increasing Potential for Renewable Energy

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Emily Folk's picture
Journalist Conservation Folks

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability journalist. She focuses primarily on green technology and the impact changes in technology have on climate change. On her blog, Conservation Folks...

  • Member since 2018
  • 40 items added with 137,707 views
  • May 21, 2020

Sustainability has become one of the main focuses of the energy industry. Solar panels and wind energy, specifically, have taken the lead for eco-friendly energy sources. Drones, however, are becoming an unexpected tool for helping the growth of sustainable resources. In terms of assistance, solar panel drone inspection has become a central concept for maintaining renewables efficiently. 

Using drones to monitor solar panels or wind turbines is faster, more reliable and more practical than manual checks from workers. As renewable energy industries continue to grow, it will become harder for workers to inspect panels and turbines. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the solution.

Solar Panels

Solar panels require significant amounts of monitoring to ensure that everything functions properly. Solar farms range up to thousands of feet, depending on the size. Due to this extensive amount, inspecting the panels becomes tedious and inefficient when workers do it. Their efforts should go to other, more pressing matters. 

Instead, drones have various capabilities that can do the work in a fraction of the time. For solar farms, thermal cameras on the UAVs are an essential feature. These cameras detect heat signatures that engineers on the ground can see through the receiving end. If something isn't functioning correctly, the drone can pick it up and transmit an alert back. That way, workers know where the issue is instead of spending hours searching without evidence.

Other sensors help, too. Drones that transmit data can be useful as predictive analytics for workers. If sensors pick up on patterns in the solar panels that lead to issues, the tech can learn from it and use it for future predictions. Replacing or cleaning parts will be more timely, efficient and cost-saving.

These drone developments are critical because they make solar energy more practical. Since fossil fuels are still prominent all over the world, renewable sources need to meet their practicality levels. UAVs are one way to do that. 

Wind Turbines

A similar concept applies to wind energy. With wind turbines, drones have the same practicality effect that they do with solar panels. The main difference is that wind turbines pose more of a risk to workers that have to climb up them. Safety issues and fall hazards are real concerns, especially with maintenance. 

By using wind turbine drone inspection, the industry can mitigate falling risks while becoming more viable as an energy option. With the same technology for monitoring and transmitting data, experts can use drones to keep operations running efficiently. Thus, wind turbines produce more energy and are stronger competitors in the market. 

Renewable Energy's Future

Experts predict that markets for renewable energy will continue to increase in the coming years. As the innovation becomes more common, the drones that monitor it will as well. Beyond that, drones will become a standard for many other things, like deliveries of medications or products. 

With the world's increasing focus on sustainability, people will find more and more uses for drones. As for now, solar panel and wind turbine drone inspection are the key ways to improve the potential for renewable energy. 

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