PV solar panels are now a familiar sight on the rooftops of the UK, but many people fail to carry out the necessary maintenance to make sure that they are getting the most from their investment. Faults in your PV panel, either caused during the installation process or occurring over time, can not only mean that your panel’s productivity falls. It can also become a fire risk and so many solar companies recommend a biennial inspection to ensure safety as well as optimal performance.

solar PV panel inspection by drone

Photovoltaic Solar Panel Inspections

Of course, the vast majority of solar panels are installed on sloping roofs which can make manual surveys by people difficult. Invasive scaffolding or a cherry picker may be required and there is always a risk of damage to the roof itself during the inspection process.

So, it’s not surprising that many people are put off by the cost and inconvenience of domestic solar panel inspections if there are no visible faults or issues evident from the ground.

However, thermal infrared inspections using a commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or Drone) can complete a detailed PV panel inspection quickly, simply, and cheaply with the need for further maintenance only then being required if a fault issue is found. One simple inspection, every couple of years under the right solar irradiation conditions can be all that it takes to make sure that your solar panels stay safe and efficient. With many panels being covered by a long term warranty, there is a good chance that any fault repairs required will be at no additional cost to the home owner as well!

Domestic PV panel Inspection

Drone Thermography of your solar panel can detect

  • DC Ground Faults

  • Faulty cells
  • Electrical issues
  • PID faults
  • String errors
  • Defective Diodes
  • Delamination and internal corrosion
  • Surface Cracks and Breaks
  • Bird and Snail debris
  • Panel Shadowing

Domestic solar panel panel Inspection

All of these issues can be visualised without ever touching the panels or roof structure – making it the perfect routine inspection tool.

A UAV/Drone can be a fast and efficient diagnostic tool to pinpoint faults when electricity production has dipped. to be able to give to your panel maintenance provider.

Solar PV Panel Inspection by Drone

Drone Media Imaging can deploy a thermal imaging camera via drone at very competitive rates, wherever you are in the UK.  We can operate at reduced distances to other properties and people under our OSC (Operating Safety Case) which are unique enhanced operating permissions granted to us by the CAA. We are also qualified as category 2 thermographers which means that we understand the correct thermal conditions necessary to create meaningful and accurate data, along with the correct interpretation, and can provide you with a detailed inspection report which will show you where the faults are.

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Further Information
  • Thermal inspections can help domestic solar panel owners detect issues early, preventing costly repairs. These inspections identify hotspots, indicating potential problems like loose connections or damaged cells. By addressing these issues promptly, owners can ensure optimal performance and longevity of their solar panels, maximizing their return on investment.

  • As winter's chill recedes, the optimal period for building thermography is ending. This technology relies on temperature differences to detect energy inefficiencies. With spring's arrival, these disparities diminish, making it harder to identify problem areas. Act now to ensure your building's energy efficiency before the seasonal window closes.

  • This guide provides an in-depth understanding of commercial roof thermography solar panel inspections, focusing on the IEC 62446-3:2017 standards. It covers the importance of these inspections, the process involved, and how to interpret the results, ensuring your solar panels are efficient, safe, and compliant with international standards.

10m Take off & 20m Flight

Legally, drones are required to remain a 50m distance from People, Property, Vessels, and Vehicles that are not under the control of the pilot. We, however, have enhanced permissions from the CAA that means we can get as close as 10m, reducing the need to contact and liaise with your neighbours or closing roads to fly near them.


Solar panels are usually fitted on one side of your house roof, looking south to ensure that the maximum solar radiation is captured efficiently. This means that the flight need is very small and simple, it is just a case of flying up above the panels to the correct angle of incidence to collect the thermal images required. Our time at your property is very short.


Solar panels need to be operating at full load for thermal inspection to take place and all errors/faults to be clearly seen, this is equivalent to 600 watts/m2 to meet BSI standards. (400 watts/m2 can be ok for some main issues). This means that we conduct solar panel inspection in the summer months ideally usually between May and September.

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Professional 15m Mast Photography, Video and Thermal Imaging Inspections and Surveys