Application solutions for photovoltaic installations:
Simple & inexpensive: professional measurement technology for homeowners and electricians.
How can you as owner secure the return of your solar power system? How can you forestall sources of fire? How can you as photovoltaic installer protect yourself against expensive recourse claims – and maybe even secure an additional business? By using technically highly sophisticated measurement technology. Find out more:
Infrared thermography for photovoltaic installations: Trotec provides the ideal thermal imaging camera to meet your needs.
High resolution, high thermal sensitivity... those are only two of the qualities a thermal imaging camera should feature for the inspection of photovoltaic installations. But why does the thermography of photovoltaic installations put so high requirements on a thermal imaging camera? Here you can find out what an infrared camera should be equipped with in order to attain relevant measuring results.
The surface of solar modules is not transparent for uncooled infrared cameras. Which means that: the temperature of the solar cell is only measured indirectly at the glass surface. There, the temperature difference can be rather minor. A high thermal sensitivity of 0.08°C is advantageous. In the pseudo colour image this implies a differentiated display of every measuring spot differing by 0.08°C and a more accurate localization of the error source than with less sensitivity.
The more pixels, the clearer and more nuanced is the pseudo colour image. A high resolution is particularly important for large-scale solar installations, which are shot from a larger distance. This way, small error sources like defective soldering joints can also be rendered visible and detectable. Ideal are interchangeable lenses, thus a wide-angle lens can be used for the detection of large solar installation from afar.
The glass surface's emissivity is at a maximum when the camera lens is being held in a vertical position to the module. Yet at the same time there is a risk of the camera's reflection showing on the glass surface, which can lead to faulty results. The only reasonable compromise is a viewing angle between 5° and 60°, provided a vertical line is defined as 0°. A prerequisite for this flexibility is a moveable camera display.
Integrated digital camera
Using the integrated digital camera, you can create real images to match the respective thermogram, which simplifies the orientation when localizing the error source. Yet another advantage for the accurate determination of the defective spot is a merge mode, which enables daylight shots and pseudo colour images to be superimposed.
Optimum measurement conditions for significant measuring results
You can purchase the perfect infrared camera from Trotec, just as important for significant measuring results are, however, the prevailing conditions during the measuring operation.
Ideal is a chilly, calm morning with clear skies in spring or in the summertime. Required to activate the solar cells is an insolation of at least 500 W/m², better are 700 W/m². Low ambient temperatures further increase the thermal contrast.
Sudden clouding, shadowing or partial shading, e.g. caused by high buildings or reflections, compromise the measuring results and should be avoided.
The highly sensitive Trotec infrared cameras IC085LV and IC125LV make the grade thanks to excellent features for the thermography inspection of photovoltaic installations. Here you can find an overview along with all relevant features of the infrared cameras of the IC series.
Attention, homeowners: Regularly check the efficiency of your photovoltaic installation
Just like a car, a solar power system on the roof, too, is exposed to extreme conditions: sunshine, rain, snow, storm and temperature fluctuations leave their marks and impose the highest requirements on material and installation. Whilst a car is regularly checked for MOT approval, the solar installation is supposed to work failure-free completely without maintenance. But does it? Using an infrared camera you can easily check whether your photovoltaic installation really performs at its best.
Defects in material, flawed connections, or even an unclean joint can lead to a performance loss of your solar installation. Therefore, check your installation by use of the infrared thermal imaging camera right after assembly. That way you can be sure that your solar installation works at full power right from the start and yields the promised return. At the same time you will receive a guide value resembling a reference point for subsequent measurements.
Secure the quality and yield of your photovoltaic installation by means of regular inspections using the infrared camera. Perform checks:
- Immediately after the installation, so that your solar power system works efficiently right from the start
- At intervals of approx. two years to detect damages caused by stone-chipping, dirt, humidity, short circuits etc.
- During the last days of the warranty period to save money when detecting defects in material or assembly faults
The infrared camera uncovers defects
The infrared camera uses thermography to render thermal radiation visible. Defective solar cells generate more heat than intact cells and are easily identified by the thermal imaging camera. Inactive cells are also depicted in the thermal image. This way you can easily and precisely determine the error source of your solar installation without having to touch or disassemble modules.
To be able to work as accurately as possible the IR camera requires a certain distance to the object to be measured. Your neighbours are nice and sociable? Good! In that event the measurement can be effected from next door. Other options include a tripod with telescopic arm or a lifting device. You can immediately tell defective modules, connections, material damage and other defects on the infrared camera's pseudo colour image. The higher the resolution and thermal sensitivity, the more accurately can the error source be detected.
For electricians and solar installers: More security and service using infrared thermography & leak detection
Are you a solar installer, electrical engineer or electrician? Trotec provides professional equipment for the inspection of roofs and photovoltaic installations. That way you can cover your back – and offer your customers an extra service. Ensure and prove the perfect functioning of the solar power system installed by you by means of a convincing inspection and documentation using a highly sensitive thermal imaging camera. Or offer regular inspection and maintenance of the solar installation as service.
Customers, who have chosen the energy supplier sun, think on a long-term basis, for initially every solar installation is a costly investment. It takes years for the photovoltaics to pay off. If it works to a hundred per cent! Small damages to the electrics, connections or solar cell are enough and part of the installation fails. Often this performance loss goes unnoticed for years. Using a thermal imaging camera, defective modules or connections can easily be localized. However, many homeowners feel out of their depth handling high-tech devices and analysing thermographic images.
By making use of a thermal imaging camera you can offer your customers an exclusive service mutually rewarding in the long run:
- For the customer the regular thermography check ensures the proper functioning and full performance of his or her photovoltaic installation
- You as installer of solar power systems can cover your back by means of an examination right from the start by documenting the functionality of your installation
- As solar installer, electrical engineer or electrician you can offer your customers impromptu inspections in case of suspected defects and performance losses but also long-term maintenance contracts
Professional measurement technology for roof examination prior to installation
Whether flat or pitched roof – the foundation, on which the solar installation is to be mounted, must be free of damage. Namely for two reasons:
On the one hand it serves to avoid potential consequential damages on the photovoltaic installation, on the other hand you as electrician or solar installer can protect yourself against expensive recourse claims: If you install a solar power system without prior roof examination, how can you later verifiably demonstrate that it wasn't you who caused damages to the roof?
Hence, to be on the safe side, perform a leak detection in advance. Trotec provides professional measuring devices for leak detection, e.g. the Combination detector LD6000.
Which infrared camera is suitable?
Sometimes only one defective joint results in partial failure of the photovoltaic installation. When dealing with a large-scale installation, detecting that one small source of error can be tricky. Another important factor for an exact measurement is the perfect angle to the glass surface of the solar modules. The infrared camera used for photovoltaic inspections should therefore meet the following requirements:
- High resolution, min. 320 x 240 pixels
- High thermal sensitivity of at least 0.08°C
- Integrated digital camera for a better orientation with the aid of the real image
- Moveable LCD display for perfect view regardless of the measuring angle of the lens
All Trotec thermal imaging cameras of the IC-LV series are suited for use with a photovoltaic installation. The LV models are further equipped with an integrated digital camera and DuoVision function for combined display of thermal and real images. Optionally available are interchangeable lenses, e.g. for the application with large solar installations. The software package included in the scope of delivery contains everything you need for a professional documentation of your measuring results.
By the way: It is also possible to lease infrared cameras!
Learn thermography and leak detection from professionals: advanced training
Thermography or leak detection: Both important areas that can be useful in your day-to-day practice - and can give you additional sources of income.
Trotec offers you different advanced training measures at four locations Thermography and leak detection: From the compact seminar to the training camps with practical problems and the development of solutions to practical training in which you are accompanied by experienced measurement technicians on assignments. Here professionals learn from professionals.
Checking photovoltaic installations! Important information for homeowners and installers.
On fire? Preferably not: Lately there have been a number of reports regarding potential fire hazards emanating from photovoltaic installations. They speak of incorrect installation, the issue of arcing and also about the fact that the return of solar collectors is generally in jeopardy. Therefore, our recommendation is: Check panels, wiring etc. immediately after the installation and at regular intervals during the service life of a photovoltaic installation!
Trotec provides state-of-the-art measurement technology for the inspection of a photovoltaic installation: Infrared cameras geared precisely to the specific features of a solar installation. Measuring devices for leak detection on the rooftop prior to the installation of a solar power system – to eliminate possible consequential defects of the installation. And measurement technology for the inspection of wiring. Many factors can restrict the safety and functionality of photovoltaic installations: from roof damage before installation to wind and weather right up to animal bites (e.g. martens).
Searching for clues with the thermal imaging camera: Fault diagnosis of a photovoltaic installation
If the performance of a photovoltaic installation is restricted, the expected yield quickly comes to nothing. It only needs small defects in modules, connections or the electrical system to lead to an impairment of the performance of the solar installation. The expensive investment on your roof should therefore be checked for sources of error right after the installation and in regular intervals of approx. two years.
A highly sensitive thermal imaging camera enables fault diagnosis without the need for a time-consuming disassembly of modules or risky climbing on the rooftop. Trotec's infrared cameras of the IC-series are absolutely qualified for this task. The smallest stone chips, defective soldering joints, humidity, defective bypass diodes, manufacturing defects, assembly faults, inactive cell parts and many other causes of a loss in performance can be clearly recognized and detected on a thermal image.
Hence, functionality and profitability of the photovoltaic installation are checked and secured by the thermography inspection. Regular inspection and maintenance intervals significantly extend the solar installation's lifetime.
Is your ROI at risk?
You have chosen a solar power system because it pays: You are expecting a certain return from it.
But does your plan work out, if the photovoltaic installation is defective?
The calculation of profitability is based on the performance capability of your photovoltaic installation. One malfunctioning module or converter is enough for the bill to no longer add up. Hence, play it safe:
Secure your return by checking your photovoltaic installation!
Simple & inexpensive: professional measurement technology for homeowners and electricians.