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The University of Coburg is launching a project for monitoring and diagnosis of solar plants. If individual modules experience a drop in performance, they currently have to be dismantled and examined in the laboratory. The cause is often banal: it only takes a speck of bird droppings to form a hotspot on the module that impairs the output. If the output of a photovoltaic system drops by more than 20% due to such faults, the system operators demand a corresponding financial compensation from the manufacturers.

The researchers now want to equip drones with thermal imaging cameras that regularly fly over the solar facility and make relevant temperature changes visible. Measurements performed directly on the solar modules themselves serve as a supplement. The researchers are also working on analyzing the errors that cause the failures and are looking for solutions.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project to the tune of 910,000 euros. Other partners include the Fraunhofer-Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP) as well as the companies IBC Solar , Smartblue , TS Solar and Solibro .