O&M, Renewables

Drones plus AI Teaming up on Solar Asset Management

Utility-scale solar asset management took a leap forward last week with the announcement that Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) is teaming up with Raptor Maps, a company that uses drones and machine-to-machine learning / artificial intelligence (AI). The companies hope that the solution will cut solar operations and maintenance (O&M) costs.

With the partnership, the companies are aiming to solve the data post-processing bottleneck, aka data fatigue, by allowing the drone to process more information on site instead of sending it back to a central operator for processing.

By the end of 2018, EGPNA said it expects to have 30 field workers on how to use the technology.

EGPNA currently has around 100 operating renewable energy plants in North America across 24 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. In all, that includes capacity of 4.3 GW of hydropower, wind, geothermal and solar assets. The partnership with Raptor will start with solar assets but the company said once the technology is fully realized, it could be rolled out to other assets under management.