Why a Drone Site Survey is Better than Remote Imagery for Solar PV Array Design

When it comes to solar photovoltaic (PV) array design, there are two main ways to collect the data needed: a site survey or remote imagery. While it may seem like remote imagery would be the easier and more affordable option, there are actually several reasons why a drone site survey is better. Keep reading to learn more.

Inspection and Documentation
Sophisticated solar installers know they are opening themselves to potential claims of property damage during the installation process. That’s why they prefer drone site surveys that document the state of the property before anyone ever climbs the roof. It’s also why we offer AI-powered damage detection as part of our solar drone survey solution. Avoiding damage claims down the road doesn’t just help you sleep well at night, it’s good for your bottom line.

Comprehensive Data Accuracy
One of the most important factors to consider when designing a solar PV array is data accuracy. And when it comes to data accuracy, nothing beats a site survey. That’s because, with a site survey, you’re able to collect data directly from the ground where the solar PV array will be installed. Yes, from the ground in addition to a drone survey from the air. You can record and measure future panel placement for batter storage, look into the attic, and attain a level of detail far superior to any remote data source.

Cost Efficiency by Cutting Redesigns
While it’s true that a drone site survey requires an upfront investment of time and money, in the long run it’s actually much more cost-effective than relying on remote imagery. That’s because you only need to conduct a short site survey once in order to collect all of the data needed for your solar PV array design. With remote imagery, on the other hand, the inherent data limitations in this approach mean that redesigns can occur in 30% of your designs. Each redesign costs you hundreds to thousands of dollars each.

Higher Resolution Images for Accurate Designs
One of the most important factors in a site survey is the quality of the images. By leveraging drones equipped with high-resolution cameras, you can get a more detailed view of the site than you would with public satellite imagery. This is especially important when trying to answer potential design or shading issues. For example, relying on the accuracy of a CAD model from a drone site survey you can measure setback distances to comply with fire codes while this precision isn’t possible with satellite imagery.

A drone site survey is simply a better option than remote imagery for solar PV array design—it leads to more accurate data collection and is more cost-efficient in the long run. If you’re ready to get started on your own solar PV array design project, contact us today for more information about our drone surveying services.


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