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NTT West Subsidiary Finds Burning Junction Box by Drone-based Inspection (1) (page 3)

AI used to improve analysis efficiency

2019/09/16 16:19
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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In starting the business of offering services using aerial shooting intended for solar power plants, NTT West developed technologies and repeated validations needed for commercialization, with cooperation by NTT Facilities. The company repeated flying drones, aerial shooting by drones, analysis of thermal distribution images shot by drones and validation of the accuracy in discovering solar panels with problems mainly in the Kansai region where the company is based and other regions.

The Nangoku Corporation group of Kagoshima City also cooperated with NTT West in the development of technologies and commercialization of the services, in addition to NTT Facilities.

To offer panel inspection services incorporating aerial shooting by drones to a variety of solar power plants, experience in aerial shooting of thermal distribution images, identification of defective panels and analysis of situations of solar panels of various manufacturers is desired.

Because of this reason, it was not enough to gain experience only in mega solar power plants of NTT Facilities. The majority of the solar panels at the company's solar power plants were manufactured by Wuxi Suntech Power Co Ltd of China because of the company's procurement policy.

On the other hand, the Nangoku Corporation group incorporates solar panels of various manufacturers. The company could undertake inspection of solar panels of many manufacturers by including solar power plants of the Nangoku Corporation group in the technology validation targets.

The technology development and validation included understanding dimensions and situations of overheated portions in panels, the level of impact on solar panel I-V (current-voltage) property, including the parts and ranking for submission to customers.

The company decided to classify the dimensions of heated portions into the three levels of "large," "medium" and "small" for submission to customers. In "large" and "medium" levels, it is likely that the impact on I-V property is high enough to have the solar panels replaced by the manufacturer.