Thermografic inspection of photovoltaic installations

An infrared camera helps to visualise defects on new and existing installations

  • Efficient method for detection of power losses
  • Detection of a wide range of local faults and irregularities
  • Visualisation allows initial on-site evaluation
  • Plant system condition monitoring over time with stored data
  • Application in running installations
  • State-of-the-art thermographic software for efficient reporting

Details about photovoltaic installations

Thermographic cameras for use on wide variety of photovoltaic installations

Over the last years a remarkable increase of photovoltaic installations for producing renewable energy with both residential and non-residential buildings could be registered. At the same time large solar power plants were installed for using the sun’s energy. In the next years the use of renewable energies will become increasingly important. Over the time many installations are losing part of their initially installed power which leads to a decrease in energy yield. Single cells break down, important components such as inverter do not operate at their maximum efficiency. As a consequence - besides reduced yields - warming and overheating of local faults caused by parasitic currents can cause further damage to the installation and finally lead to fires, too. Using infrared thermography, these faults - also named hotspots - can be located easily due to their thermal signature and subsequently be repaired targetedly. Due to the variety of manufacturers of photovoltaic installations that are in use today, a multitude of defects can show most diverse geometry and appearance. A prerequisite for reliable fault detection is the use of thermographic cameras with outstanding features as well as the expertise of skilled auditors. 

Thermographic cameras allow for efficient inspection in running processes

State-of-the-art thermographic cameras of the VarioCAM ® High Definition series do not only offer a quick overview on large-scale plants but are also able to reliably capture small defects on photovoltaic modules in detail. Next to the high geometric resolution for this type of application the viewfinder of the infrared camera is of advantage. The full capacity of photovoltaic modules is generated in the course of a day in direct sunlight. Therewith, the thermographer whose task it is to inspect the modules can work even more efficiently than with a display that is exposed to brightest sunlight. Modern precision telephoto lenses or wide-angle-lenses complete the equipment for this demanding measuring task. Thus, installations of each size can be inspected efficiently and reliably, even from inconvenient points of view. Using the thermographic test system PV-LIT by InfraTec already during production the different types of solar cells and moduls can be checked for the most varied defects.

Fast reporting of inspection results

The easy-to-handle concept of the infrared camera as well as a low maintenance requirement are a big advantage for the user. Especially the VarioCAM ® HD inspect series provides a rugged design and excellent handling features for outdoor applications. The thermographic software IRBIS ® 3 allows for an efficient reporting of the acquired thermographic data and for generating comprehensive reports in order to assure a clearly structured and complete documentation of the inspection results. 

Trained staff for preventing measurement errors and misinterpretations

The use of a infrared camera easily brings a number of "colourful images". Of most importance when analysing thermal images is a profound knowledge about the function of photovoltaic installations as well as about physical regularities. On a regular basis InfraTec offers application-oriented trainings on the inspection of photovoltaic installations with thermographic cameras at its training centre in Dresden.

Infrared cameras for photovoltaic installations

  • Infrared camera VarioCAM® HD inspect 900
    Infrared camera VarioCAM ® HD inspect 900

    3.1 megapixels guarantees precise infrared recordings in brilliant photographic quality.

  • Infrared camera VarioCAM® HD inspect 800
    Infrared camera VarioCAM ® HD inspect 800

    The ergonomic design of this professional system allows for fatigue-proof, mobile use and supplies precise and razor-sharp infrared recordings even under harsh environmental conditions.

  • Infrared camera VarioCAM® HD insepct 700
    Infrared camera VarioCAM ® HD insepct 700

    Designed for professional users, this thermographic system provides precise measuring results and its robust light metal housing guarantees for long-term operation even under harsh industrial environments.

  • Infrared camera VarioCAM® HD inspect 600
    Infrared camera VarioCAM ® HD research 600

    High geometric and best thermal resolution as well as excellent handling and extensive features allow its use for demanding inspection tasks.

  • VarioCAM® HDx inspect  600
    VarioCAM ® HDx inspect 600

    Control technical installations or inspect buildings thermographically with a thermal imaging camera that provides the entry to thermography at high-end level.

  • Infrared camera InfraTec mobileIR E9
    Infrared camera InfraTec mobileIR E9

    InfraTec mobileIR E9 is an efficient and budget-friendly infrared camera for mobile use. Exchangeable and quickly rechargeable batteries ensure a long period of application.

    Infrared camera InfraTec mobileIR E9
  • Infrared camera InfraTec mobileIR E4
    Infrared camera InfraTec mobileIR E4

    InfraTec mobileIR E4 is a low-priced, efficient and completely equipped infrared camera. This robust and very handy high-tech system convinces with its intuitively learnable handling and user-friendly single hand operation.

Case studies

Photovoltaic Thermography shows cell failures and fractures

Testing of photovoltaic installations with VarioCAM ® high resolution

Based on programs for energy conservation and for promotion of renewable energies, until 2009 in the European Union photovoltaic facilities for more than 15 GWp were installed, which approximately corresponds to the surface of Milan. Like for all electrical devices, solar cells and modules need to be maintained especially as they are located outdoors. Infrared thermography offers the possibility to localise and classify problems fast and also with a high accuracy. 

Learn more about infrared thermgraphy and inspection of photovoltaic installations...