When drones are operating around equipment and assets that cost thousands and even millions of dollars, the pilot’s professionalism and devotion to safety and compliance are crucial. With the availability of third party hiring sites for sourcing drone work, it is important that businesses can decipher between a safe, professional drone pilot and an inexperienced amateur.
DEPCOM is a Solar PV Power EPC/O&M services provider that serves a portfolio of large-scale solar farms distributed across the United States. DEPCOM prides itself in adopting new technologies that best serve solar farm owners in their efforts to improve the performance, efficiencies, and overall advancement of their solar energy assets. They were recently listed as a Top 10 Most Inspiring Company from Inc magazine.
Today, energy companies are using drones to capture data that was previously dangerous, difficult, or expensive to obtain. But what is drone data, exactly? And what’s the benefit of this new treasure trove of data?
A career as a Drone Pilot can be very rewarding for the right person.
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UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) technologies provide operational efficiency gains to solar asset management. To quantify these gains, Measure compared time, costs, and results of its 100% IR drone inspections to relevant manual inspection scenarios across four solar sites. These comparisons, documented below, yielded the following results:
Using traditional methods, a boiler inspection is a long process: 3 days for the boiler to cool off; 2 days to install scaffolding, up to 4 days to do the inspection, and another 2 days to remove the scaffolding. And then there is the cost of all that downtime, about $30,000 per day in net profit loss for a typical 500 MW coal plant.
This process requires up to 40 contractors, numerous hazardous man-hours, and a great financial investment; the costs involved with the scaffolding alone can be upwards of $140,000, depending on the size of the boiler.
But energy companies can use drones to cut inspection time 4 days to 1, with no scaffolding required. Hazardous man-hours are drastically reduced and inspections can be completed at a fraction of the cost.
As shared by: Andy Justicia, Lead Pilot for sUAS Training and Standards
It was night time, an uncommon time of day for a drone mission. Our pilots Grant and Eric were flying a mission with a new client in Miami when they noticed another drone in the distance flying recklessly and not adhering to the FAA's Part 107 Rules and Regulations.
Dismissing the reckless drone operator as an amateur, our pilots continued with their mission as planned.