On top of mounting project loads, solar installers have consistent challenges to contend with.
The first is time. Manual roof surveys can take several hours. Every relevant area has to be measured and accounted for before the customer can be provided with a detailed quote and installation is given the green light. Because these preliminary surveys take so long, installers are limited in the number of quotes they can provide and projects they can secure.
The second challenge is accuracy. The hard work that goes into a manual survey can easily be undermined by a missing measurement or a single mistake. Remeasuring involves more site visits and more time – and that’s assuming the oversight is noticed before it becomes an expensive headache.
Last but by no means least is the issue of safety. Although solar install crews are familiar with working at height, nobody should be exposed to more risk than is necessary. Accidents happen and for small solar businesses, losing staff to injury can seriously impact daily operations.
Airclip’s customers range from single operators to large renewable energy companies. On top of providing DJI hardware, training on its use, and assistance navigating regulatory hurdles, Airclip has built a cloud processing platform that turns aerial data into accurate 3D models. Solar installers can fly their measurement missions, upload their data, pay a small per-project fee and receive a detailed 3D model that can be used to present clients with quotes and plan new projects.
“We connect solar professionals with the right hardware, explains Marc Hufken, Airclip’s Sales Manager for Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
“We run workshops on how to use the drone and how to fly the roof. They can then collect all the data on their own, upload the images to our cloud processing service, and within 24-48 hours, receive an exact 3D model alongside other PV planning tools where you can integrate and plan your panels. With drones, solar installers no longer have to go up to the roof to do an estimation or a measurement. It’s a really easy, fast, accurate, and secure way to get the information you need.”
The majority of Airclip’s solar industry customers have upgraded from the Phantom 4 RTK to the new Mavic 3 Enterprise, which is portable, easy to fly, cost-effective, and – unlike DJI’s consumer drones – highly specialized for surveying missions.
Many also use one of DJI’s thermal drones, such as the M3T, to produce a guarantee following installation. With infrared imaging, crews can do a quick inspection of the panels to prove they are operational from day one.