June 11, 2013

Solar Panel Surveys using Thermal Imaging

Aerial Thermal Imaging of Solar PV

We conduct thermal imaging of solar panels to provide information on function and performance.

ScanTherm provides aerial surveys of thermal panels using a drone /UAV or a mast.  Solar panels can be challenging to survey using infrared cameras. The thermographer must consider viewing position and altitude, IFoV and environmental conditions.  ScanTherm uses high resolution 640×480 radiometric equipment and mobile masts as well as UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) sometimes known as drones to provide effective surveys. We can inspect systems of any size up to MW or tens of MW systems.

solar panel thermal imaging


We have experience of surveying both solar PV and solar thermal panel installations from both the ground and the air.  We will identify any defective cells, defective panels and strings without physical access to the panels. In addition, the distribution boards, isolators and inverters can be scanned.  ScanTherm can provide thermal imaging inspections of solar panels in different situations:

  1. Initial acceptance testing of a new or operational solar array
  2. Reactive surveys to quickly locate defective cells, diodes, modules or strings non-intrusively
  3. As part of ongoing operations and maintenance plans.

Many people offer drone surveys of solar panels but few are thermography consultants. There are a number of technical considerations involved in scanning solar PV with thermal imaging equipment. These apply whether it is a small domestic installation or a large commercial array or solar park. A good knowledge of the physics behind thermal imaging and sources of error are required to avoid missing problems or falsely identifying problems which do not really exist. There are also some significant requirements of the equipment itself and calculations need to be made relating to the camera and detector characteristics  as well as the size and location of the panels.

Please get in touch with ScanTherm to discuss how we may be able to assist with using thermography to scan solar panels.