Fast & Reliable Tool for Testing Solar Panels

FLIR Systems has published a technical note that discusses the advantages that thermal cameras offer for solar panel evaluation.

Quality assurance is of fundamental importance for solar panels. The failure-free operation of the panels is a prerequisite for efficient power generation, long life, and a high return on the investment. To ensure this failure free operation a fast, simple and reliable method to evaluate a solar panel's performance is required, both during the production process and after the panel has been installed.

This technical note illustrates how thermographic inspection of photovoltaic systems, such as solar panels, allows the fast localization of potential defects at the cell and module level as well as the detection of possible electrical interconnection problems. Further, unlike other methods, thermal inspections may be carried out under normal operating conditions over large areas and do not require a system shut down.

Thermal imaging cameras are already an established R&D tool for the evaluation of solar cells and panels. For these sophisticated measurements, usually high-performance cameras with cooled detectors are used under controlled laboratory conditions. This technical note demonstrates that the use of thermal imaging cameras for solar panel evaluation need not be restricted to the field of research. The authors show how the latest generation of FLIR uncooled thermal imaging cameras are currently being used for solar panel quality control before installation and regular predictive maintenance check-ups after the panel has been installed.

The technical note concludes that inspection with a new generation uncooled handheld thermal imaging camera, starting with the quality control in the installation phase, followed by regular check-ups facilitates complete and simple system condition monitoring. This thermal imaging inspection protocol has been shown to help to maintain the solar panels' functionality and to extend their lifetime. Using thermal imaging cameras for solar panel inspections will therefore drastically improve the operating company’s return on investment.

To download this technical note please visit www.flir.co.uk/instruments/building/display/?id=41872. For further information on uncooled thermal cameras for solar panel inspection please contact FLIR Systems at [email protected] or +32-3665-5100.

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