There’s a floating photo voltaic farm in Thailand, and it’s largely made attainable by drones.
The photo voltaic farm is positioned on the Sirindhorn dam basin in southeastern Thailand, close to the border of Laos, the place it impounds the Lam Dom Noi River and serves as the biggest water useful resource for the area.
And in 2021, the Thai authorities kicked off what might be a quest to be the dam space a large power useful resource for the area too. That’s as a result of Thailand spent $34 million to put in floating photo voltaic panels over the water.
Whereas the reservoir and dam have lengthy powered the Sirindhorn Hydropower Plant — which has an put in capability of three models of 12,000 kilowatts every and annual power manufacturing of 90 GWh — the floating photo voltaic panels elevated the ability to 45 MW.
All that energy although requires a large photo voltaic farm — and this one is 250 acres, making it one of many largest floating photo voltaic farms on this planet. The floating photo voltaic farm consists of seven sections floating on buoys that collectively are the dimensions of about 70 soccer fields. And because the panels are positioned 350 meters from the closest shoreline, inspecting all that space that removed from the shore just isn’t precisely the best activity.
And that’s the place drones are available in.
The Electrical Producing Authority of Thailand (EGAT) simply accomplished a largely profitable proof-of-concept mission in partnership with Thai drone consultancy and tools supplier High Engineering Company in addition to autonomous inspection firm Percepto that makes use of drones to observe the floating photo voltaic farm. the drones conduct autonomous, routine inspections of panels and different tools. In the event that they detect anomalies, people could be alerted to restore them — in principle discovering issues early on earlier than they flip into larger points. Drones will take a look at every part from the substations to the transformers, to floating fences and photo voltaic floaters (these are what maintain the panel above water).
In distinction, doing tools inspection and upkeep sans drones is cumbersome. In any other case, inspection workers would want to entry the panel by boat to manually evaluation the panels. In cases of extreme climate, going out through boat won’t be attainable in any respect.
Past flying for inspection functions to supply common operations and upkeep experiences, the drones can even be capable of map the situation of the panels.
Talking of extreme climate, the drones can deal with Thailand’s prickly, tropical local weather (the southern components of Thailand particularly get excessive quantities of rain). On the finish of 2021, Percepto’s drone system handed rigorous Stage 5 hurricane testing at wind speeds of as much as 155 mph.
Thailand has largely been a frontrunner in environmental points. The $34 million floating photo voltaic farm mission is only one piece of the nation’s push to realize carbon impartial standing by 2050. And right here’s a enjoyable truth: floating photo voltaic panels is likely to be higher than these one the land. Putting photo voltaic panels on the water floor helps scale back the panels’ warmth, which EGAT claims makes the 10-15 % extra environment friendly than photo voltaic panels put in on land. Moreover, it reduces water evaporation within the dam round 460,000 m3/12 months.