SPIC News: Using UAV Automatic Cruise Technology to Improve O&M for PV Power Plant

Background description: Huzhou Honghui PV Power Plant is a fishery-PV hybrid power plant with 220,000 modules covering 126 fish ponds; the modules are generally laid 3 meters above the water level, which is relatively high. If we rely on manual inspection, it is difficult for us to observe the components above the water surface of the fish ponds, and we can only see the situation of the components beside the fish ponds. As regards the other situation of the components, we can only build a bracket and climb on it to see whether there are easy-to-observe problems such as factures and bird droppings. Other problems such as hot spots and snail-shaped lines are difficult to observe and find out from a distance, which affect the efficiency of component inspection and are unsafe.

Suggested measures: In view of the low efficiency of the inspection of PV components with the PV power plant, the installation of UAV automatic cruise and tracking system for PV area, combined with the upgrade of the inverter background system, which enables the drone to automatically take close aerial photos and store the pictures of the abnormal equipment area according to the system feedback information, is convenient for the O&M personnel to retrieve the photos from the background system for observation and analysis, and thus can greatly improve the efficiency of O&M and elimination of defects.

Specific measures: The double serial numbers of all the inverters and strings match exactly with the actual wiring on site, with GPS positioning of the string layout, and according to the problems analyzed by the intelligent background system of the inverter after transformation, the UAV automatically cruises, takes pictures and gives feedback to the O&M personnel, who reacts in a targeted manner, prepares in advance the materials and utensils for elimination of defects, and carries out targeted operation, and thus could save half the treatment time of defects and reduce the loss of power output, i.e., increase the power generation.

Expected effect: The fault handling time of the original inverter is one hour, and 114 inverters have been treated for faults since the grid connection. The installation of automatic cruise and tracking system can greatly reduce the defect elimination time, and thus can reduce the power loss by several thousand  KWH. The discovery time for the original low power inverter is 10 days, while after installing the automatic cruise and tracking system, it can automatically take photos for determination and reduce the defect elimination time; it can quickly locate the bird droppings problem of components and increase the cleaning efficiency; it can quickly locate the broken components and reduce the elimination time; it can quickly locate the components affected by hot spots and shading. In brief, it is expected to reduce tens of thousands of KWH of power loss.

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