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Percepto announced that it has completed a proof-of-concept (POC) with the Electric Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to monitor a 250-acre floating solar farm. The farm is the size of 70 soccer fields and is located 350 m from the nearest shoreline.
Percepto’s AIM software and drone-in-a-box solution will autonomously perform routine inspections of panels and other equipment to detect anomalies and ensure everything is operating properly. The drones will provide regular operations and maintenance reports, map the location of the panels; and perform inspections of substations, transformers, floating fences and solar floaters, which hold the solar panels above water.
When the drones find an anomaly, workers are notified. The drone provides the workers with the exact problem that needs to be resolved and the exact location of the problem. Percepto partnered with Top Engineering Corporation, a Thai drone consultancy and equipment provider, for this project.
“We are very excited to partner with EGAT and Top Engineering Corporation on this unique and environmentally sustainable electricity project,” Percepto Co-founder and CEO Dor Abuhasira said. “Autonomous drones are strengthening the sustainable positioning of renewable energy facilities to achieve global climate targets. With Percepto drones, solar farms such as EGAT can be consistently monitored and inspected regardless of their size or location to further unleash the potential of renewable energy sources.”
Without Percepto’s drones to monitor the floating solar panels, equipment inspection and maintenance would involve inspection staff accessing the panels by boat to manually review them. Rain, extreme heat, fog and other weather conditions make this task even more challenging.
“Percepto drones will dramatically improve the consistency with which the panel provides customers with electricity, how quickly repairs are made, and the safety level of our employees,” EGAT Chief of the Fuel Business Development Department, Chanapan Kongnam said. “Rather than sending out staff to inspect the panel, we will deploy inspections much more frequently than could be achieved manually. Staff are only sent out when repairs are necessary, and they will know the nature of the problem and where it will be located to spend as little time on the water as possible.”
Earlier this year, Percepto received Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for refineries in Tyler, Texas and El Dorado, Arkansas. The approval means that the self-flying drones can fly in its downstream energy operations without a pilot being able to see them.