Smart O&M platform detects hail-related damages in PV systems


From pv magazine Italy

PV system owners in northern Italy have become aware of the need to consider natural disasters due to significant damages related to heavy hailstorms in late July. Damages to solar panels are primarily caused by hailstones measuring at least 3 cm in size.

Massimo Albino Russo, the head of sales and business development for Italian O&M contractor Enerqos, told pv magazine Italy that Enerqos' smart O&M solutions combine traditional O&M with artificial intelligence and digitization. The company collects real-time operating data and production statistics from PV systems, enabling prompt intervention in case of natural disasters.

Enerqos uses strategically positioned sensors to understand real-time conditions and assess the need for intervention, while coordinating maintenance actions to optimize system performance. The company's monitoring software platform and AI enable quick assessments of PV system anomalies.

“Through a monitoring software platform and artificial intelligence we are able to immediately have all the data coming from the photovoltaic system, evaluate what is happening at the precise moment within the various components of the array in terms of energy and current,” said Russo.

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This smart O&M procedure allows Enerqos to promptly activate task forces with field technicians to detect and repair damages. For hailstorms that break the glass surface perpendicularly, leaving panels still operational, it is essential to provide complete insurance coverage and plan precise and punctual technician interventions.

To efficiently detect damage to photovoltaic panels and all system components, Enerqos employs thermal drones for inspections, avoiding the need to check each panel individually. These drones quickly discern the type of damage, and whether it disrupts production or causes accidental damage to other components like inverters and cable trays.

Russo noted the importance of timely intervention through extraordinary maintenance services to produce comprehensive and detailed reports of system damages, preventing the suspension of production. For plants under construction that suffer damage, there are insurance policies to protect installers during construction.

Once operational, it is essential for system owners to sign insurance policies against force majeure, either directly or through Enerqos. The comprehensive smart O&M solution from Enerqos ensures that customers are protected from the economic damage of natural disasters.

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