TSO optimizes and repowers solar plants with drones


Spanish company TSO, The South Oracle, has patented exclusive software for the automatic identification of failures in images taken with drones overflying solar panels, which in addition to guaranteeing the maintenance of photovoltaic plants, also allows repowering.

To develop the OSR – optimized solar repowering – project, TSO has a team of engineers and scientists within the Biomedical Technology Center of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) which works with leading-edge technology to complete the software that will be launched on the market in the first quarter of 2020.

After exhaustive analysis of photovoltaic plants in Europe, TSO’s research and development department saw the need to accelerate the maintenance process, minimizing costs and duration.

Therefore, the research focused on developing a computer system connected to drones, the aim of which was to provide in record time a complete report of the current status of each photovoltaic panel within a plant.

Thus, the preventive-predictive and corrective Smart Solar Maintenance (SSM) software OSR was born, which through thermography and visible image with drones also guarantees the repowering/revamping of solar plants, detecting failures in solar modules instantly and allowing the reinstallation of damaged panels for optimal solar production, even offering an economic study of such repowering/revamping.

In this way, OSR will be presented as an innovative solution in the updating of photovoltaic plants that have already completed their warranty period and need to return to full performance.

With this software, TSO will put an end to the problems many current installations have nowadays – which gradually affect their production during their useful life – by predicting the panels that are going to fail before compliance with the guarantee and those that have to be changed in plants that have completed 10 years of operation and are therefore out of guarantee. Reports by this company indicate that around 6-8% of solar modules present failures in plants installed 10 years ago and that 2% of the modules will fail throughout their useful life in any solar plant.

In conclusion, The South Oracle’s OSR will cover three existing needs in photovoltaic plants. Firstly, preventive-predictive and corrective SSM; secondly, plant repowering/revamping to optimize production and finally, the economic study and the new proposal that will guarantee the maximum profitability of the solar plant.

The company has announced that a demonstration of the advantages of its OSR patent will be conducted during the O&M and Asset Management International Congress to be held on December 5 in London.

This R&D&I project is financed by ERDF funds from the European Union through the CDTI – a public entity dependent on the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of the government of Spain to promote innovation and technological development in Spanish companies.