commingsoon logo

How to Detect the Invisible Faults of Solar Panels


June 13, 2024

Inspecting solar panels is crucial for maintaining their efficiency and longevity. Traditionally, this process has been time-consuming and labor-intensive, but thermal drones are revolutionizing solar panel inspections for both commercial and residential applications.

Why Thermal Drones?

Thermal drones are equipped with infrared cameras that can detect temperature variations on the surface of solar panels. These variations often indicate issues such as faulty connections, shading problems, or damaged cells. Here’s why thermal drones are the best tool for this job:

  1. Efficiency and Speed: Thermal drones can inspect large solar farms in a fraction of the time it would take a human technician. For residential arrays, a drone can complete the job in minutes, allowing for quick diagnostics and immediate action.
  2. Accuracy: The high-resolution thermal cameras on drones provide precise temperature readings. This accuracy helps in identifying even minor defects that might be missed during a manual inspection.
  3. Safety: Inspecting solar panels often involves climbing onto rooftops or navigating large, elevated structures. Drones eliminate the need for this risky activity, ensuring that inspections are conducted safely from the ground.
  4. Comprehensive Data: Thermal drones can cover every inch of a solar panel array, capturing comprehensive data that can be analyzed to identify patterns and prevent future issues. This data is invaluable for both maintenance and optimizing the performance of solar installations.

Commercial Applications

For large-scale solar farms, thermal drones are indispensable. They can inspect vast fields of panels quickly and efficiently, identifying underperforming panels or sections. This rapid diagnosis allows for timely repairs, minimizing downtime and ensuring maximum energy production. Additionally, the detailed thermal data can help in planning and optimizing future solar installations.

Residential Applications

Homeowners with solar panels can also greatly benefit from thermal drone inspections. Regular checks ensure that their investment is performing optimally, saving money in the long run. On the outside they might look okay but the thermal image can reveal other issues. Issues like partial shading or small defects can be identified early, preventing larger, more expensive problems down the line. If your panels came with a warranty make sure to get them checked before that expires.


Thermal drones are transforming the way we inspect and maintain solar panels. Their efficiency, accuracy, and safety make them the ideal choice for both commercial and residential applications. At Hartley Aerial, we leverage the latest in drone technology to provide top-notch solar panel inspections, ensuring your solar investments are always operating at peak performance.

For more information on how Hartley Aerial can assist with your solar panel inspections, visit our website or contact us directly. We are utilizing the power of drones for good, one industry at a time.

In The News

More Blogs