We constantly work to identify and apply new technologies aimed at the proper maintenance and performance increase of our PHOTOVOLTAIC plants.


Electricity production from renewable sources will have an increasingly important role in the next future by satisfying our domestic demand.  The solar energy market will experience an important growth: the National Electric Strategy 2017 (SEN2017) forecast a growth in PHOTOVOLTAIC electricity production from 23TWh in 2015 to more than 70 TWh in 2030.

This perspective raises some questions regarding how this development should happen. It will be necessary on one hand to focus on new installments, on the other to uphold and increase the efficiency of the existing plants. This will be possible thanks to a constant monitoring of those plants yield through the application of those latest-generation technologies like thermography with drones.

Mostly efficient for PHOTOVOLTAIC plants monitoring, aerial thermography is carried out with a drone equipped with a thermal imager that flies over the plant to spot malfunctioning modules. One of the main issues that can be spotted with this technology there is the so-called “hot spots”. When a cell is not generating electrical power, but just heath due to the joule effect, it overheats until it reaches far higher temperature than the adjoining cells. The presence of hot spots determines both a decrease of the panel technical performance (for each increase of temperature of 2-2,5° there is a 1% decrease in performance). For these reasons it is important to monitor the plants through thermographic activities that allow one to analyze the panels current state by spotting the temperature differences among the cells. The PHOTOVOLTAIC modules are classified according to the anomaly level and then one proceed with the replacement of the modules that record a variation in heath over 30° between the hot spots and the panel average temperature.

At EF Solare Italia we have always monitored our PHOTOVOLTAIC plants through aerial thermography, thanks to the important aid that the advent of drone has brought to this kind of analysis. If one could analyses at best 10% of a 1 MW plant in a day with manual thermography, today with aerial thermography one could do 1 MW in an hour. Since the electric range of a drone do not last past twenty of thirty minutes, depending on weather conditions, we use in alternation two quadcopter drones equipped both with high definition regular cameras and thermal imagers: this way we get to scan about one module per second. The modules that present severe issues are quickly and precisely notified to the technicians tasked with maintenance, so that they can replace them in short time.

Between 2016 and 2017 we implemented aerial thermography on roughly 570,000 modules, spread among more than forty PHOTOVOLTAIC plants for a total power of 130 MW. In 2018 the activity followed through with a working plan that involves 15 plants for a total power of 45 MW.

Us of EF Solare Italia want to be a driver for the technological development of our market. For this reason, we constantly work to identify and apply new technologies aimed at the proper maintenance and performance increase of our PHOTOVOLTAIC plants.