Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA), and Raptor Maps Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding for the co-development of asset management technologies designed to optimize the field operations and maintenance of solar assets.
The two companies will configure Raptor Maps’ existing machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI) software solution, Raptor Solar, which was developed for post-inspection analysis, and embed it directly into EGPNA’s drone hardware. This will allow real-time identification and classification of solar facilities’ faults and streamline the detection-to-repair process from days to hours, according to the companies.
“The partnership with Raptor Maps on this innovative technology goes beyond demonstrations and implements a ground-breaking solution in a responsible and scalable way,” says Rafael Gonzalez, head of EGPNA. “By combining the new software with the technologies already implemented in our plants, we have the potential to increase efficiency of our inspections, yield more accurate results and work towards developing a more automated inspection process across all of our solar sites.”
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) recognized EGPNA and Raptor Maps with an InnovateMass award earlier this year to accelerate the commercialization of the technology by partly funding the project.
“Raptor Solar is revolutionizing the solar industry by enabling owners and operators to capture the most advanced PV system analytics, maximize performance and reduce operating costs,” says Nikhil Vadhavkar, head of Raptor Maps. “EGPNA is leading the industry in the scalable implementation of drones to streamline operations, maintenance and asset management. They are the perfect partner to push this technology to its full potential and drive efficiency across the entire solar value chain.”
By the end of this year, EGPNA expects to train and equip 30 field workers with the technology. The partners will kick off the project this month by implementing Raptor Solar across all of of EGPNA’s solar assets. The team will be able to simultaneously capture both infrared (thermal) and high-resolution (color) imagery of solar assets, perform post-processing at the source of the data, and deliver real-time analytics to assess the condition of the plant. This information will be transmitted in real time to EGPNA’s maintenance management system, which will create and deliver a work order with actionable items to be evaluated by the site technician.