Pole-mounted thermal checking of solar panels
To help use thermal imaging for inspecting solarPV panels on roofs, Visiotherm, a building-services company in Belgium, has developed a retractable pole system for use with the Flir T640 thermal-imaging cameral When extended to maximum reach, the aluminium pole is about 12 m long, enabling it to be used for most residential buildings and low-rise industrial buildings.
This non-contact method enables panels to be scanned while they are working, with the location and type of fault shown on the thermal image.
On top of the pole is a remotely controlled pan-and-tilt mechanism for the camera. The mechanism also enables the optimum angle to be achieved to eliminate reflections that might skew results. The camera is controlled via a wireless connection to a tablet PC running the Flir Tools application software.
The T640 is an uncooled camera with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. It can measure temperatures from -40 to 2000°C with a thermal sensitivity of 0.035 K, making it possible to assess the performance of the cells under the glass surface of the panels.