Cypress Creek Renewables adds PV plant drone inspection services from Raptor Maps

Raptor Maps

Raptor Maps, a Boston-based software company focused on helping enterprise solar companies adopt drone technology to reduce asset management costs and increase plant production, reached an agreement with Cypress Creek Renewables to support their internal UAS team with data analytics and reports from PV plant inspections. Raptor Maps software will be used by the Cypress Creek UAS team to automate the processing and generate reports on over 300 drone solar inspections to be performed in 2019.

“We realized early on that a robust aerial thermography program was something we wanted to pursue. We started scanning sites in 2016 and in early 2017, ordering a fleet of drones and staffing a team of electrical engineers and qualified technicians to lead our Reliability Engineering program. We quickly found that combining technical analysis with boots on the ground resulted in improved facility performance and reduced O&M costs by minimizing truck rolls,” said Kyle Cooper, Vice President of Operations and Maintenance of Cypress Creek Renewables.

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Raptor Maps provides software for artificial intelligence and PV system analytics, and has built the most enterprise-friendly data model in the industry. The company analyzed more than 4,000 MW (4 GW) of PV systems in 2018 across 6 continents. Its analytics are in compliance with both asset owner requirements and infrared thermography standards.

Cypress Creek Renewables, one of the largest integrated solar energy companies in the U.S. has developed one of the leading internal UAS programs for the inspection of PV plants, with over 3 GW of self-performed solar drone inspections since inception. The company has worked with Raptor Maps on a proof-of-concept pilot over the last several months. After successful completion of this 150 MW pilot, they decided to roll-out the Raptor Maps solution on all solar inspections in 2019 and the following years.

“This partnership allows our Reliability Engineering team to focus on inspections, repairs, and analysis and leave the heavy lifting of reviewing thousands of images for anomalies to automation without measurable impacts to accuracy. The partnership will lead to improved report turnaround time, more time devoted to inspections and repairs, and most importantly improved facility performance for our customers,” said Kyle Cooper.

How it works

The software platform automates the review of the tens of thousands of infrared (thermal) and high-definition (digital color) images captured during a solar farm inspection, identifying and localizing DC-health and environmental anomalies impacting plant performance. Analytics generated from the inspection are delivered inside the Raptor Maps web-based software platform, with specifics provided on the exact location of each anomaly following internal naming conventions, each anomaly’s affect on plant production, and a prioritization of all issues for streamlined decision making regarding further investigation in the field.

Software modifications were made by Raptor Maps with input from the Cypress Creek UAS team to ensure all reporting met the organizations internal requirements. Final inspection results can be downloaded locally as a final report in several formats or can be viewed online by anyone involved with the PV asset.

— Solar Builder magazine

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