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Hi All,

About 2.5 years ago we installed solar panels on a ground mount in my back yard - LOVE THEM! Electric bill is now $2.50/mo!!!.  In talking to the guys at the solar company I was able to convince them they needed aerial photography for their own marketing.  I showed them the attached & they went for it big time! I now spend a day every month shooting their installations with my DJI P3A.. A lot of the installations are roof mounted - especially the big commercial ones - and there's really no good way of photographing the panels without using a drone.   This spring I'll try to add other solar companies.  A very nice add on to my real estate marketing business.  Solar is big in NJ because of a pretty generous state program that gives me over $1000/year in what are known as SRECs. If your state has a similar program, you may want to look at doing the same.

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Yes, they use the photos for marketing, posting to social media, etc, & they're very happy with the results. Photos also make a nice gift to the property owner.  I haven't spoken to them about thermal. I will, but I'm not sure if it'll be of any interest. The system continuously monitors itself.

 

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The economics behind sUAS thermal inspections of large scale PV plants is something I'm working on. It's far more practical for commercial applications than residential. Many of the newer residential setups use micro inverters which allow for easy monitoring of individual panels for performance. Even so doing annual inspection of residential systems may start to be worthwhile as equipment costs come down and FAA regulations become more permissive.

Below are a few photos of the panels on my house. The first was rendered in PixMapper4D from a grid of photos collected with a P3P at 200' AGL. I can spin the view just like in Google Earth The black areas are trees, need to fly 300-400' AGL for them to render properly. The second was also with the P3P. I was trying to see how close I could get. The third was taking using a FLIR One sensor on my Note 4 smartphone that was temporarily "rigged" onto my custom flamewheel hexacopter. You can see an anomaly on the lower right panel.

 

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