Drones for the Energy Industry

Whether it is for wind, solar or powerline checks, businesses are increasingly turning to drones for this type of work, with UAVs yielding a real return on investment across the sector.

A white paper – entitled The Case For Drones In Energy – showed:

  • An international energy company realised a 95% ROI for drone inspections on wind farms by way of cost savings and increased efficiencies;
  • A solar farm inspection by drone costs up to 46% less than a manual inspection.

Put simply, when it comes to energy inspections, drones provide better data to inform business decisions and maximise energy production. They support industry efforts to avoid hazardous man-hours; reduce costs for maintenance, inspections, and repairs; and improve efficiencies and core competencies.

One of the most valuable uses of drones in the energy sector is for wind turbine inspections. A drone with a zoom camera can identify damage or a fault from a far - quickly, easily and safely.

Drones are a key tool for spot-checking a transmission tower or pylon. They can be used in areas too close to trees or homes for helicopters, and in areas that are too difficult to access for ground patrols. There are also no hazardous man-hours involved and you get a clean look at the pylon in real-time, allowing your team to properly diagnose the problem and suggest a remedy before you even leave the site.

When it comes to solar panel inspections, drones help to conduct thermal inspections; accurately capture images, which in turn helps to generate accurate roof measurements and 3D models for site planning and energy estimates; and increase safety by reducing the amount of time spent on roofs.