SunPower Corp. has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) for automatic access to operate a drone in regulated airspace over controlled airports.
The new access category, called Low Altitude Authorization Capability (LAANC), was released this month in a beta test at four airports including San Jose (SJC), Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno (RNO), and Lincoln (LNK). SunPower received LAANC authorization through Skyward, an FAA-approved vendor.
“Leading through innovation, SunPower is proud to be the first company granted the new LAANC access, enabling us to aerially evaluate a broader range of potential project sites for our customers more quickly and comprehensively,” said SunPower CEO and President Tom Werner. “As part of the SunPower Oasis Power Plant platform, drone flights enable us to efficiently generate solar power plant system layouts to optimize site use and reduce project cost.”
SunPower uses drones as part of the SunPower Oasis Power Plant platform to survey potential solar power plant sites for customers. Information and images gathered by the drones is used to quickly develop solar plant layouts to optimize site use and achieve customers’ project goals.
“Digital, automated, free access to controlled airspace, in the form of LAANC, is one of the greatest moment we’ve experienced in the U.S. commercial drone industry so far,” said Skyward Co-President Jonathan Evans. “I’m excited for SunPower and the company’s customers, who will get to benefit from LAANC right away.”
— Solar Builder magazine