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Drones monitor Sustainable Building’s solar panels

2015-08-04 08:33:43

Drones are now monitoring Dubai’s Sustainable Building’s solar generation efficiency and other projects to save time and manpower.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, will regularly scan the photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (Dewa) Sustainable Building in Al Quoz to ensure that they are functioning effectively.

Dust and pollutant-free photovoltaic (PV) panels are needed to efficiently produce energy from sunlight as particles covering the panels could reduce its efficiency. Dewa’s solar panels produce 600 kilowatts of electricity.

In an initiative called Sirb (Arabic for fleet), Dewa has started using drones to monitor the cleaning activities of contractors as well as the condition of the panels if they need cleaning.

A drone’s full sweep of the 100,000-square-foot roof of the Sustainable Building can be done in less than five minutes, which saves time and effort according to Dewa officials. Drones will also provide Dewa with ultra high definition (4K) images with a resolution of over 20 mega pixels.

“This initiative will greatly improve operational efficiency by accelerating operations, increasing safety during regular network testing and maintenance, and accurately detecting failures. It will also help in monitoring generation, in field surveys for new projects, and in new connections for buildings and facilities in Dubai,” Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dewa, said.

Drones are also used to inspect the water cooling process in evaporators, enabling Dewa to operate without fully shutting them down for maintenance.