Digitalized Inspections Taking Center Stage in Renewable Energy Developments

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A new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Advancements in Digital Technologies for Solar and Wind Farm Inspection, finds that technology advancements have drastically changed solar and wind farm inspections, with their deployment enabling access to critical data, helping with visualization, and ensuring process, performance, and resource optimization.

Despite experiencing the adverse impact of COVID-19 in 2020, the expected resumption of delayed projects in 2021 will drive the solar and wind farm inspection market, the company says. As a result, the demand for digital technologies such as augmented reality/virtual reality (AV/VR), big data, drones, robots and digital twin will gain momentum worldwide.

By the end of this year, the additional capacity of wind power and solar photovoltaic (PV) is estimated to reach 6.9 GW and 10.8 GW, respectively.

“With the lockdown and social distancing measures imposed recently, it is difficult to dispatch experts into the field. This leads to the increasing adoption of digitalized inspection approaches in the solar and wind farm inspection space,” says Weihao Hung, TechVision research analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Further, compared to traditional human-based inspection, advanced digital technologies offer inexpensive surveying through advanced photography and accurate measurement.

“Characterized by object tracking, self-navigation, and inspection in real-time without human intervention, drones and robots equipped with advanced imaging cameras and sensors empowered by deep-learning computer vision will take center stage in the next three years,” Hung adds.

“Additionally, market participants’ move to develop the software and hardware to provide new functionalities addressing solar and wind farm inspection challenges will result in enhanced business values and competitive advantages for them.”

In order to tap into the growth prospects exposed by digital technologies for solar and wind farm inspection, Frost & Sullivan says market players should focus on the following:

New product development to increase access to the products and technologies portfolio: Market participants need to develop a digital platform combining IT/OT information as it integrates field operations and inspection data to conduct a comprehensive inspection.

R&D partnerships to enhance the competitive advantage: Companies should focus on R&D partnerships because they have become essential to accelerate product development, improve competitive advantage and speed up market expansion.

Disruptive technologies for intelligent inspection: Vendors should develop mobility solutions that can be deployed anywhere and anytime. It saves customers travel costs and improves operational performance.

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