SEAT uses drone to monitor huge solar farm

SEAT uses drone to monitor huge solar farm

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The factory at Martorell in Spain, part of the Volkswagen group, has a photovoltaic plant measuring 276,000 square metres with over 53,000 solar panels and uses an unmanned drone to monitor the condition and operation of the panels.

Located on the roofs of the workshops and the temporary finished vehicle holding area, the facility has generated more than 112 million kWh since it first started in 2013. A recent upgrade means the farm generates over 17 million kWh a year for the factory, providing 6% of the total energy needs.

TSM-PC05 multicrystalline modules from Trina Solar protect vehicles from adverse weather conditions and generate electricity at the same time. The modules, placed on pre-built structures, create a curtain to protect vehicle paint from the effects of ultraviolet rays.

The farm uses a drone to monitor the condition of the panels, flying overhead once a month with a CMOS camera and thermographic sensor. A total of 16 inspection flights are made at a height of 35 metres. The site also has a fleet of 125 unmanned ground vehicles (AGVs) that carry material around the factory.

The company worked with Spanish solar plant builder and operator X-ELIO, formerly Gestamp Solar before a private equity buyout in 2016, on the ‘SEAT al Sol’ project to build the farm, which cuts annual CO2 emissions by around 4,000 tonnes. This is part of the company’s goal is to reduce its water consumption, CO2 emissions and waste generated by half by 2025 when compared to 2010.


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