December 9, 2022


An Unmanned Community

Autonomous Drones May Be the Only Way to Monitor Floating Solar Farms

floating solar farms percepto funding energy drones and roboticsfloating solar farms percepto funding energy drones and robotics

Percepto’s drone-in-a-box solution.

Percepto Autonomous Drones to be Deployed to Monitor Floating Solar Farm

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby

Today, leading autonomous inspection and monitoring solution provider Percepto revealed that it has successfully concluded a proof-of-concept (POC) for the observation of a 250 acre floating solar farm alongside the Electric Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

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Positioned 350m off of the closest shoreline on the Sirindhorn dam basin in Southeastern Thailand, the solar farm is one of the largest of its kind, and comprises seven sections supported by buoys. Reflecting Thailand’s goal of reaching carbon neutral status by 2050, the floating solar farm consists of 145,000 solar panels, which gather power from the sun during the day and convert energy from flowing water at night. In partnership with Thai drone consultancy and equipment provider Top Engineering Corporation, Percepto AIM software and Percepto Air drone-in-a-box will allow for autonomous routine inspections of equipment to guarantee proper operation and locate defects.

The solar farm’s size and distance from land makes equipment inspection and maintenance challenging. If not deploying drones, the inspection staff would be required to approach the panel via boat in order to complete a manual inspection of the panels, while also under the stress of weather conditions such as intense heat, rain and fog. Percepto’s durable drone-in-a-box solution was the first system to pass Level 5 hurricane testing at wind speeds of up to 155 mph, and is capable of enduring Thailand’s heat and humidity.

Percepto’s drones will complete routine operations and maintenance reports, map the panel’s location, and conduct inspections of substations, transformers, floating fences and solar floaters which hold the panel above water. Upon locating an anomaly, workers will be made aware of the exact problem and its location. While regulations require one person to remain nearby, the inspection can otherwise be carried out remotely from over 600 km away in Bangkok.

“We are very excited to partner with EGAT and Top Engineering Corporation on this unique and environmentally sustainable electricity project,” said Percepto CEO and Co-founder Dor Abuhasira. “Autonomous drones are strengthening the sustainable positioning of renewable energy facilities to achieve global climate targets. With Percepto drones, solar farms such as EGAT can be consistently monitored and inspected regardless of their size or location to further unleash the potential of renewable energy sources.”

“This project illustrates the breadth of our unique capabilities as countries explore innovative solutions in their push to reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources,” said Ehud Ollech, Percepto’s Head Of Business Development and Partnerships. “We’re looking forward to full drone deployment and working with EGAT and Top Engineering to leverage the many benefits of our platform.”

“Percepto drones will dramatically improve the consistency at which the panel provides customers with electricity, how quickly repairs are made, and the safety level of our employees,” said Chanapan Kongnam, Chief of EGAT’s Fuel Business Development Department. “Rather than sending out staff to inspect the panel, we will deploy inspections much more frequently than could be achieved manually. Staff are only sent out when repairs are necessary and they will know the nature of the problem and where it will be located to spend as little time on the water as possible.”

“We applaud Thailand for its innovation and commitment to developing sustainable energy sources,” said Kornnarong Tungfung, Managing Director at Top Engineering. “By deploying autonomous drones powered by AI technology, Thai solar farms will be continuously observed for a variety of factors to ensure they consistently generate electricity for the people of Thailand.”

Read more about Percepto drones:

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.


Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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Tags: automated dronesautonomous dronesfloating solar farmsPercepto