Compact thermal imaging cameras inspect solar panels

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Installers of solar panels are finding that the Flir E-Series compact thermal imaging cameras can save time by pinpointing problems with individual solar cells and electrical connections.

Compact thermal imaging cameras inspect solar panelsThermal imaging is very useful for solar panel installers. Tony Hargan of South Survey in Clitheroe sells the Flir range of thermal imaging cameras and he confirms that the falling price of the technology is proving a powerful driver: "Cost is no longer a barrier to installers using this technology. Although the advanced thermal imaging cameras offer more sophisticated functions and the ability to see faults at greater distances, an entry-level model can still do the job. Thermal imaging provides a quick, easy and efficient method of pinpointing a problem cell."

Historically installers needed to test each string laboriously to find a fault. And even if they found one to be defective, the next headache was finding the cell causing the problem. With a thermal imaging camera – the new Flir E-Series compact thermal imaging cameras are well suited to this task – installers get an instant visual summary of performance.

Thermal anomalies often indicate decreased yield from the solar cell but, in some cases, hot spots can reach such high temperatures that they present a safety risk. The thermal image can also show if the problem is the result of poor electrical connection. With a higher-resolution camera it is possible to see greater detail that can reveal, for example, breakage in the protective glass layer of the cell or defective bypass diodes often caused by a thunderstorm.

Saving time and money

Flir claims that there is no better method of determining the temperature profile of a solar module than with thermal imaging. It saves time, money and gives installers vital information to ensure that jobs are well done.

Any model in the recently introduced Flir E-Series will enable an image of the entire installation to be captured showing cells, cables, connectors, fuse boxes and inverters in order that the source of the problem can be identified. And as the camera also has WiFi, images are radiometric data can be wirelessly transmitted to an iPhone or iPad for quick and easy report generation.

Follow the link for more information about the Flir E-Series compact camera range.

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