News Feature of Project COSIMA

Can drones be used to assess a utility-scale PV installation comprehensively? Scientists from the Helmholtz-Institut Erlangen-Nürnberg für Erneuerbare Energien (HI-ERN) attempt to show that it can be done in project COSIMA, a collaborative effort between six partners: N-ERGIE – a local utility company, IRCAM – a camera-producing company form Erlangen, Rauschert – a system developer form Thuringia,  DHG Engineering –  a power-electronics developer and the institute ELSYS from Technischen Hochschule Nürnberg. Allianz Risk Consulting GmbH from Munich is an associated partner.

In a recent feature in PV-Magazine, results from the project were highlighted. “With our advanced analysis methods we can identify anomalies in the operation of PV-systems. We investigate their impact on PV-system durability and explore the efficiency of maintenance procedures for more clean PV-electricity”, says Dr. Claudia Buerhop-Lutz, project-leader from HI-ERN. Utility company N-Ergie, is concerned with a reliable electricity production in the next-decades. Just within its area of operation, there are tens of thousands of PV systems. “For them to reliably produce electricity over the expected 30 year life span, maintenance on a regular basis is important – also because only then will the employed areas be ideally used”, says Rainer Kleedörfer, head of corporate development at N-Ergie.

Until August 2020, 56 PV-systems were assessed using aerial drones in the project. Currently capacities of up to 10 MW can be measured in one day to collect data for the development of automated software to assess the systems’ state. Measurements and software development are ongoing tasks in the project, which lasts until 2021. Read more here.