Commercial Drone Services is Paving the way for Solar Companies in New England Looking to Leverage Aerial Technology

November 11,2019



Solar is soaring. Its dramatic growth - 50% each year for the past decade - shows no signs of slowing. In 2010, solar accounted for 0.1% of total US electrical generation; today, it’s 2%. The solar industry has also been a bright spot in the economy; over than 242,000 Americans work in the 50-state, $17 billion industry. Impressive stats and numbers aside: as the industry grows, solar companies are seeking innovative ways to improve business operations and efficiency. One powerful solution: drones.

Companies across the board, from real estate and construction to agriculture, architecture, and defense, leverage commercial drone services to capture data, imagery, and real-time insights that are otherwise inaccessible. How can the solar industry take advantage of UAV capabilities?

3 Ways Drones Can Put Solar Companies on the Fast Track for Success

Using drone technology, solar companies can streamline and strengthen several key processes, including:


1. Design

Accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and speed: this is a trifecta solar companies couldn’t hope to hit just a few years ago. If they weren’t sending techs up on rooftops to examine spaces, they were deploying airplanes, helicopters, or satellites to gather images and map their sites. This not only added exorbitant costs to their budgets but took weeks to obtain actionable insights.

Drones equipped with mapping capabilities have the ability to reduce the design cycle by up to 70%. AI technology, which can autonomously convert 2D and 3D aerial data into CAD models, can also be utilized, further streamlining the process. And those techs can get down off the roof!


2. Surveying

Surveying is a methodical, meticulous, time-consuming process: it can take days or weeks to fully survey a solar farm using conventional methods. Both time and cost must be factored into project budgets.

A recent study looked at the average time it would take to survey 4000 solar panels. At a rate of one panel inspection per minute, it would take more than eight days to complete the job. A drone can do it in five minutes.


3. Inspections

Just like any other piece of equipment, solar panels need to be inspected to operate at full capacity. When they accumulate layers of dust, get scratched, or sustain damage, they overheat. In the past, companies would have to manually inspect each one. Depending on the size of the farm or array… they were looking at days or weeks of pricey work. With drones, that timeline is accelerated.


When Enteris, a Spanish solar firm, began using drones, for example, they cut inspection costs by up to 40%. They also knocked one month survey times down to about a week for a 75 MW plant.

Drones not only significantly reduce the time, cost, and complexity of inspections, they improve safety. By accessing hard-to-reach areas, companies can reduce the risk of injury, as well as potential liabilities.


Request a Solar Consultation with Commercial Drone Services today

With the capability to capture precise, high-quality imagery, convert accurate aerial data into CAD models, and facilitate decision-making on the ground, drones are rapidly becoming mission-critical in the solar industry. Innovative companies are searching for ways to become faster, leaner, and more efficient - while keeping budgets in check. With Commercial Drone Services, solar companies can streamline their business operations and key processes - and focus on energizing the world.


For more information about how CDS can help your business gain better insights, reduce time and risk, call or email us today for a free solar consultation.