Inspecting Solar Panels using a Drone


I'm probably not the first to do this - but it was a fun way to learn just how tricky it is to control a cheap quadcopter even in mild weather.

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Good enough quality to make sure the panels aren't covered in bird-mess, leaves, or anything else which might block their efficiency.

Thanks to Jack Franklin for the drone.

2 thoughts on “Inspecting Solar Panels using a Drone

  1. a) I love a bit of solar panel porn, bring it!
    b) it's non-trivial how much generation capacity you can lose from bird droppings, worth the bother to do this.

    At that angle the panels should self-clean on your property, but odd things can happen. Early in the life of our first row of panels, I noticed the power generation drop off considerably - we lost 15% of generation. It turned out one panel was approx. 1/3 covered in bird poo from a defunct TV aerial which overhung it. That is enough to shade the panel enough that its internal resistance builds up - this kills the output from that panel, and can even harm it. We had the TV aerial removed, the panels scrubbed, and the lot has stayed clean for 9 years now!

    1. Nice! The original instructions I got with the panels suggest that I clean them off with water at least once per year. I'm guessing the British rain takes care of that!

What do you reckon?