Thermal imagery is a critical tool in helping to determine the health of an installed photovoltaic system. It is not good enough to have someone who just has a thermal camera but to have a person who has been certified to use a thermal camera. There are certified thermographers.
At Pacific Panel Cleaners, LLC, there are two certified thermographers, Fred Brooks and Daniel Guerland. They have been doing documentation on thermal imagery in the photovoltaic field since 2013.
Speaking Engagements on PV Technology:
In June 2020, Fred was invited to be a panelist on the topic of “Photovoltaic systems, a great renewable energy resource that need to be inspected and maintained regularly.”read more below…
In October 0f 2019, Fred spoke to a large audience at the Identifying Issues on Installed Photovoltaic Systems. 2019 AEE Energy Conference. read more below…
In September of 2016, Fred Brooks went as the expert speaker at the Thermal Imagery Conference in Las Vegas, NV. more info below …
FLIR – Forward Looking InfraRed system
FLIR Systems, Inc. is PPC’s number one choice for all of our thermal imagery needs. Showing our customers who need to know the hidden problems that we’ve found with our FLIR thermal camera is just as important as uncovering them in the first place. FLIR Tools is the powerful software solution that helps us present these findings to our customers most effectively.
Here are some visual examples of the FLIR system technology:
Learn more about FLIR @: www.flir.com
Fred Brooks Panelist on June 9th, 2020.
Photovoltaic systems are a great renewable energy resource and they need to be inspected and maintained regularly. Inspection of the photovoltaic modules with a thermal imager is critical to identify any problems. Inspection of the balance of system ensures the items are installed properly.
If there are issues in the modules or on the balance of system this can cause a loss of energy which is a direct parallel to a loss in money. If there is a problem that goes undetected and is left in the system, it can lead to a fire which is very dangerous and is also very costly. The use of the thermal imagery with the other data collected on a site is an invaluable tool to determining the health of the installed photovoltaic system. What are we able to see? How can we tell if this is a real issue or not? What are some of the causes for the issues we can find? What can be done with some of the issues that are found? What are the conditions for conducting a proper thermal scan with true results? This tool can identify the location of microinverters or optimizers that are out and help you find them, and that is invaluable when the map is wrong.
Identifying Issues on Installed Photovoltaic Systems. By Fred Brooks.
Evolution of PV System Maintenance
• With all things there is an evolutionary processIn 2009 I started operating the first company in Hawaii solely dedicated to Photovoltaic System maintenance. After a few years I knew there was more to the inspections than meets the eye, and that is when I first became a certified thermographer. That was in 2012. This was the natural next evolutionary step
General Conditions for an Inspection
- The Photovoltaic system needs to be up and operating
- We need a basic understanding of the PV system. Is it a central inverter, micro inverter or an optimizer system?
- We want to ideally have clear skies
- We are looking to have an irradiance greater than 500 w/m2
- You can see anomalies at any level but 500 w/m2 and greater is where you can really see the anomalies pop
- The main concept is to realize you are looking for anomalies on the system in relationship to the rest of the system, as the equipment should have a uniform heat signature in relationship to each other.