Sustainable Energy

Solar Panel Hotspot Detection

Using Drones (UAVS) to Detect Malfunctions in Solar Arrays

Although solar panels allow us to harness clean energy, their location can make maintaining them difficult. Collections of solar panels that are placed on top of tall buildings without easy roof access pose a danger and challenge to inspecting technicians. In this presentation, we present a possible solution to this problem in a two-part process. Using computer vision techniques and tools, we work to develop a collection of python scripts that allow for real-time detection of solar panels in an image and their hotspots using drone technology (as hotspots are a good indication of a broken solar panel). We use our results to provide a roadmap for future investigations on how to use drones to inspect solar arrays for potential malfunctions.

I worked with Dr. Jason Miller over the course of the Fall 2018 semester to develop a collection of Python scripts that allow for automated detection of hotspots on solar panels via unmanned aerial systems. We presented our project to Naval engineers interested in using UAS to inspect Navy solar arrays.


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