Solar Panel Terms and Acronyms

Drone Thermal Imaging and Solar Panels, UK

The drone industry is awash with acronyms and specialised terms which can make it confusing to read about to someone who is just browsing to see if UAVs can be of help to them in their everyday lives.

The problem is compounded if you’re looking to see how drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras can help you to monitor and maintain your solar panels.  Here’s some of the most common terms and abbreviations explained.


Amorphous – thin-film PV cell made from non-crystalline structure with a more glassy structure.

Are thermographers insured?2023-07-27T00:12:14+00:00

Yes, reputable thermographers should carry insurance coverage to protect against any unforeseen circumstances during the inspection process. It is essential to work with insured professionals to ensure both your safety and theirs.


Just as multiple solar cells make up a solar panel, panels can be wired together to form a solar array.


Balance of System – the Parts that go to make up a solar system apart form the panels – such as inverters, wiring, mounting systems…

Can dew point analysis detect hidden moisture problems in buildings?2024-02-10T13:49:31+00:00

Yes, dew point analysis combined with thermography surveys can identify hidden moisture problems by detecting temperature differentials indicative of moisture infiltration.


EPC – Energy Performance Certificate. A certificate that gives a property a rating from A through G according to its energy efficiency.


FIT – Feed In Tariff. A government scheme that rewards the producer an amount per unit of electricity generated and fed back into the Grid . The scenme closed to new applications at the end of March 2019.


Ground Mounted Solar – Solar arrays at ground level usually in large installations for commercial purposes such as solar farms.


Grid. The network of equipment that connects the suppliers and consumers to deliver the electricity – including the cables, pylons, poles and connectors.

How can building owners prevent moisture problems based on dew point analysis?2024-02-10T13:52:08+00:00

Building owners can prevent moisture problems by implementing proper ventilation, insulation, and drainage systems to control indoor humidity levels and minimize condensation risk. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are also essential in preventing moisture-related issues.

How long does a thermal inspection take?2023-07-27T00:12:35+00:00

The duration of a thermal inspection depends on the size of the solar system and the complexity of the installation. Typically, inspections can be completed within an hour for domestic installations and a full day for large commercial solar farms. However, larger or more intricate systems may require additional time.

How often should building thermography surveys be conducted?2024-02-10T13:52:46+00:00

Building thermography surveys should be conducted periodically, with the frequency depending on factors such as climate, building usage, and maintenance history.

Interconnection Agreement2020-01-29T14:07:07+00:00

Interconnection Agreement. The agreement between a home owner and the utility companies allowing them to connect their solar panels to the grid and receive a credit for surplus electricity provided.

Is dew point analysis useful for all types of buildings?2024-02-10T13:52:29+00:00

Yes, dew point analysis is beneficial for all types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and industrial structures, to assess moisture risks and ensure structural integrity.


KW – Kilowatt. A unit of measurement of electrical power equal to 1000 watts.


KWh – Kilowatt Hour. A measure of energy based on using 100 watts per hour.


MCS Microgeneration Certification Scheme. A quality assurance scheme certifying solar installers. If you wish to obtain a FIT certificate for your home, you must use a MCS accredited installer.


Monocrystalline. A cell made from a slice of single-crystal silicon, oriented in one direction.

Mounting Hardware2020-01-29T14:11:06+00:00

Mounting Hardware. The mounting equipment used to secure solar panels to roofs or ground based installations.

O & M2020-01-29T14:12:32+00:00

O & M Operations Maintenance – Ongoing maintenance needs of a solar system including cleaning, repairs, maintenance, monitoring and bill management

Off Grid2020-01-29T14:39:26+00:00

Off Grid – having no dependence on the electricity grid at all.


Polycrystalline – a solar cell made of silicon off cuts oriented in different directions.


PV – Photo Voltaic – the name for the technology that converts sunlight to energy

Solar Canopies2020-01-29T14:14:51+00:00

Solar Canopies. Solar arrays that are mounted on the ground but at a height that allows the ground beneath to still be used – for car parking for example.

Solar Design Company2020-01-29T14:16:00+00:00

Solar Design Company. A specialist company that can design solar installations that are optimised for energy production.

Solar Efficiency2020-01-29T14:03:01+00:00

Solar Efficiency. The percentage of sunlight captured and converted into electricity via the solar panels.

Solar Inverter2020-01-29T14:08:08+00:00

Solar Inverter. Takes the Direct Current (DC) by a solar panel or array and converts it to Alternating Current (AC) that can be used by homes and businesses.

Solar Tiles / Shingles2020-01-29T14:17:46+00:00

Solar Tiles / Shingles. Thin film like PV strips that can be directly applied to the roofing under felt just like regular tiles / shingles. They are less efficient than solar panels and degrade over time but they are cheaper and more versatile.

Solar Tracker2020-01-29T14:19:10+00:00

Solar Tracker – mounting hardware used in power plant installations that allow movement in the solar panels so they can follow the sun during the day and maximise output.


STA – Solar Trade Association – A UK body working to promote the benefits of solar energy and make it easy for both domestic and business customers to adopt.

What are the common signs of moisture problems in buildings?2024-02-10T13:51:25+00:00

Common signs of moisture problems include musty odors, water stains, peeling paint, warped surfaces, and mold growth on walls or ceilings.

Who should perform thermal inspections on rooftop solar panels?2023-07-27T00:13:24+00:00

Thermal inspections should be conducted by qualified and certified thermographers who specialise in solar panel inspections. These professionals possess the expertise and knowledge required to accurately interpret thermal images, identify anomalies, and recommend appropriate actions.


ZNE – Zero Net Energy – when a building or structure generates as much energy as it consumes usually through a combination of renewable energy techniques including solar power.

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About the Author:

Drone Media Imaging are fully qualified and certified by the CAA to fly drone day or night up to 25kg. We hold Operational Authorities and Operating Safety Cases so that we can fly close to uninvolved people. We also hold A2 CofC certification. We are also trained and experienced in Photogrammetry, Mapping and hold a category 2 Thermography qualification
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