The company brings transparency and increased safety to the U.S. solar industry with standardized ratings calculated by in-depth data captured through its North American Solar Scan
SANTA MONICA, Calif., September 14, 2022 — With the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act passed within the Inflation Reduction Act, America’s solar manufacturing sector is set to scale dramatically. To support the forecasted growth of 60 gigawatts (GW) of solar deployed annually from 2025 to 2030 and ensure better oversight of U.S. solar power plants, DroneBase announced the first standardized set of solar asset ratings. As the leading provider of intelligent imagery, DroneBase is expanding its solar scan offering to cover all of North America for this new rating system. By offering a thorough assessment of power loss, module condition and cell temperature, DroneBase presents the solar industry with a new gold standard for evaluating the total condition of solar power plants, marking the industry’s first complete solar asset conditions data set.
“With the solar industry experiencing substantial scaling, industry professionals are looking for a standardized way to evaluate solar asset conditions. Until now, there has been a lack of transparency and visibility into the overall status and condition of assets,” said Mark Culpepper, general manager of global solar solutions at DroneBase. “Thanks to our scanning capabilities, we provide deep and broad data sets and bring a universal understanding on the condition of solar power plants.”
DroneBase’s North American Solar Scan uses a simple three-letter asset rating system, similar to the common investment-grade bond rating system. Each letter represents a specific aspect of a solar site’s overall condition. Conducted via manned aircraft, the North American Solar Scan provides cost-effective and comprehensive thermal and RGB views of solar assets to investors, asset owners, operations and maintenance managers, utility companies, EPC firms and policymakers. Scanned solar plants (1 MW and larger) are automatically assigned three criteria based on aerial photography and thermal scans. Stakeholders can access the data and reports via the DroneBase Solar Insights web platform.
The first letter in the rating represents the operating condition of the site. Thermal sensors detect components that are failing to estimate direct current (DC) losses at the power plant. The second letter in the rating is an indicator of the highest recorded temperature of photovoltaic cells, with separate parameters for roof-mounted and ground-mounted assets. Elevated temperatures may indicate potential safety or liability risks. Finally, the last letter in the rating reflects the condition of the modules used by comparing the number of anomalies per megawatt peak. More anomalies per megawatt generally indicate more potential problems with the modules on the site.
By providing this analysis and the three-letter rating, DroneBase enables stakeholders to see the condition of solar plants across a geographic area, such as a city, state, or the continental U.S. Financiers or owners can use the asset ratings to identify potential assets for acquisition or sale. In contrast, O&M service providers can use the data to highlight the excellent rating of the plants they service. Meanwhile, developers and EPCs will be able to leverage the ratings to provide objective evidence of the quality of their work to existing or prospective customers. Clients seeking DroneBase’s traditional deep-scanning capability, providing detail as specific as cell level visibility into specific component failures, can continue to do so, and can even order that within the new updated Insights platform.
Companies, such as DroneBase customer Primergy Solar, that develop, own and operate distributed and utility-scale solar and storage projects, can use the asset rating for various insights to save time and money, through targeted maintenance and preventable downtime.
“Primergy is actively building one of the largest solar + battery projects in the U.S., and DroneBase’s technology is a critical time saver for all involved,” said Adam Larner, chief operating officer of Primergy Solar. “We’re focused on partnering with companies that understand the importance of investing in projects that increase clean power reliability and reduce carbon emissions to create healthier communities and stronger economies. We look forward to continuing to work with DroneBase as they bring additional clarity and insights to the solar industry.”
To date, DroneBase has completed 16GW of its solar scan in California, representing 20 percent of large-scale solar-generated power in the U.S. The whole U.S. solar plants market of 1MW or larger — approximately 80GW — will be accessible via the DroneBase Insights platform in the spring of 2023. Customers can subscribe immediately to access all the sites scanned in California.
A preview of the insights provided by the North American Solar Scan will be available via webinar on Thursday, September 15 — registration is free and open to the public. Attendees of the RE+ conference in Anaheim, Calif., will have access to the database of the California scan at the DroneBase booth (#3854) from Tuesday, September 20 to Thursday, September 22, 2022.
DroneBase is the leading intelligent aerial imaging company for high-value infrastructure, providing businesses with fast, actionable, real-time insights to recover revenue, reduce risk, and improve build quality. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, DroneBase serves customers in the solar, wind, insurance, construction, real estate and critical infrastructure industries. Trusted by the largest enterprises in the world, DroneBase is active in over 70 countries. Learn more at https://dronebase.com/.
About Primergy Solar
Primergy is a developer, owner and operator focused on both distributed and utility scale solar PV and battery storage projects in North America with portfolios of over 10 GW of solar and battery energy storage projects in development, construction, and operations in 13 different states. Primergy features a diverse and talented team with decades of experience in renewables project development, financing, construction and operations. Primergy is a portfolio company of Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and represents Quinbrook’s principal solar and solar plus energy storage investment platform in North America.
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