#Innovation: Drone Technology Set to Play Huge Role in Transition to Renewables

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Increasing concerns on the impact of Climate Change has led to many conversations, laws and policies on the reduction of fossil fuels and emissions, which has called for a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

But how have we been able to achieve this so far?

Energy providers are now looking at the emergent technology of drones to help them with their day-to-day maintenance of renewables installations and to decrease their costs.

Recently, Intersolar North America, Drone Deploy, a cloud software platform provider for commercial drones, and DJI, a leading maker of drones and camera technology, launched a new partnership to increase the efficiency of solar panel installation as well as inspection thanks to the use of drone-based thermal imagery capture and analysis.

This would ensure residential solar system measurement times could be reduced by half, and commercial measurement times could go from days to a few minutes.

On-board thermal imagery can also facilitate the placement of the equipment for maximum production.

Ryan Tong, director of marketing at DJI, said: “Roof inspection hasn’t changed significantly over the past decade… Introducing safe and accurate drone-based 3-D models to replace survey wheels and measuring tapes is a step forward for the industry.”

In essence, the use of drones would reduce and save cost for rooftop solar installation as they reduce the time workers spend on the roofs, as well as the potential for measurement errors and they facilitate the maintenance of the systems.

Drones have the same potential in the wind power sector, as they can provide 3-D images of the wind blades in order to detect the imperfections, without having to stop the turbines and have workers climb on them. Drones could also help with the maintenance of the transmission network.

Since the Sustainable Development goals were adopted, technology has been identified as one of the driving tools to fast-track the goals and meet their targets by 2030.

Therefore, more investments and innovation in science and technology is crucial in facilitating the transformation of all, especially in Africa.

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