How Do Solar Panels Operate?

How Does the Sun Affect a Photovoltaic Solar Panel?

The sun continually discharges little parcels of energy called photons, which arrive with us here on earth approximately 8.5 minutes after they have left their source.   Those little photons however can take 100,000 years to get from the sun’s core to the surface where they can start their journey to us – so we’re bathing in some very old light when we hit the beach on a hot summer’s day!

Solar panels are designed to capture the power of this light and convert it into energy that we can use – natural, clean and green.

How Does a Solar Photovoltaic Panel Work?

Solar panels are made up of individual cells often constructed of silicon.  These cells, call Photo Voltaic (PV) cells become energised when they are in contact with photons and this energy is converted into a usable electrical current.   PV cells are wired together in collections on a board and then boards can be wired together into arrays to create even more power.

Obviously for solar panels to function at their optimum, a clear bright day is best but especially in the UK, there is mix of weather conditions which means that they are not in full sun at all times.

As discussed, the PV cells that make up a solar panel are designed to capture light and not heat.  As the temperature rises, the circuits actually become less effective and so less power is created. While the summer months offer more hours of light, it’s a bit of a myth that you can’t generate electricity from solar panels outside of March – October – there’s less light for sure but your solar panels still work.  Also, counterintuitively, less heat can actually mean that panels function more efficiently.

Why Should Solar Panels be Professionally Maintained?

Over the years, panels can suffer faults that remain invisible to the naked eye but which impact their efficiency in terms of generating power.   In serious situations these faults can even lead to a fire hazard.  So it’s really important to keep up with the maintenance on your panels to keep your installation safe and also to make sure you are making the most of your investment.

Obviously, the problem with regular and specialist inspection of your panels is that they are most likely to be in inaccessible areas of your home such as your roof.  Having an actual human being up there to manually test each panel can be costly due to the health and safety precautions they have to take and potentially equipment they have to hire in order to gain access, plus you run the risk of damage to your roof structure during the inspection process.

However, there is a simple and non-invasive solution that reduces inspection costs and means that if you do have faults that need to be rectified, that personnel are deployed with all the information they need to carry out repairs in a targeted fashion.

Why Use Thermography and Infrared Drone Cameras to Inspect Solar Panels?

Faults on a solar panel can be detected by a drone carrying a thermal imaging infrared camera – these faults will show up clearly in an image taken under the right conditions if they are there.  A thermal equipped drone will fly over a solar installation while it is in operation (the panel needs to be under full load at the time of the survey) so there is no down time.  A drone can cover large areas in a short time and take both thermograms (heat based images) and standard images at the same time so any faults can be immediately pinpointed within the installation.

Where Can You Hire a Drone Thermal Imaging Survey?

To find out more about how drone thermography can be used to assess the effectiveness of your solar panel installation of any size – from a simple roof top installation through to large scale solar farms – please just get in touch with Drone Media Imaging and we are happy to talk through your requirements.

Is There a Drone Solar Panel Inspection Service Near Me?

Yes, absolutely, Drone Media Imaging travel to all parts of the UK from our base in the south-east near Gatwick, West Sussex. We are happy to provide you with a full, accurate quote without obligation, all we need is the location information where the Solar Photovoltaic installation is situated.

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Solar Panel Thermal Survey

We are certified and approved drone pilots as well as level qualified thermographers and work throughout the UK to provide both aerial and ground based thermography services. Fully insured and certified by the CAA with enhanced permissions for day and night time flights

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