Case Study:

SOLAR FIELD ORTHOMOSAIC

 

Solar fields can cover hundreds of acres and require large crews working for multiple weeks to inspect them.


For this reason, Flight Evolved recently partnered with a client to map a 120 acre solar field in southern Arizona.  The job took a day to complete, and the data we were able to collect was more complete, more effective, and provided the client massive cost savings.

What is an Aerial Orthomosaic?

An aerial orthomosaic is a combination of hundreds, or even thousands, of photos to create an RGB 3D model of a particular environment.  In the case of this study, we took thousands of both thermal and visual images to create the aerial orthomosaics for our client. Tell me more about orthomosaics.

Our Flight

The flights were comprised of of multiple grids flown with both thermal and visual camera systems.  We conducted flights at lower altitudes to gather specific thermal data on the field and to ensure that panels were functioning properly.  Our grid was flown with high overlap and took multiple passes to ensure that the data was correct.

Here is a video animation of the high resolution map we created.

The Data

The purpose of the flights were to be able to reconstruct both a thermal and visual aerial orthomosaic of the solar field.  The client wanted to be able to see thermal data overlayed on Google Earth with a .KML file as well as have .tif files and radiometric images to inspect individual panels.

aerial orthomosaic

The image above gives an example of the radiometric .JPEGs we were able to provide to the client.  We can see individual panels in this image, and can see that the panels are functioning properly. The hot spots in this image indicate panel mounting points and are normal. Thermal imaging will showcase defective cells, broken glass, string problems, entire module outages, or something as simple as dirt/water accumulation. With this data, the client can save thousands on fixing broken panels, and increase the efficiency of the solar farm.

Results

The attached SketchFab rendering shows the abilities of our system.  The client was able to view close ups of individual panels, examine vegetation growth, and ensure that the field was operational. We also provided high resolution .TIF files, .OBJ files and video animations for the client to inspect their field.