Thermal image of solar panel
Author: eagle-drones
Date: October 23, 2020
Thermal Imaging with Drones

Thermal imaging has been around for a while now.  What has started to become more common is the smaller form factor FLIR cameras.  Our FLIR camera is able to be mounted on to any of our drones and provide a view not normally seen.  Why would you need to see thermal images?

Solar Panel Inspection

Thermal images show the relative temperatures of items in the view.  This allows the user to identify areas of differing temperatures or of incorrect temperatures.  For example, when viewing solar panels, we can easily see which of the panels are hotter or cooler and hence determine which panels are working as expected.  This is usually done for warranty reasons since without thermal imaging, the owner can never know if the panel is operating properly.  In the image below on the left, some areas of the panel are lighter and hence hotter than other areas of the panel.  These areas indicate the panel is heating up un-evenly which is usually due to a manufacturing defect.  The second image on the right shows a panel that contains a horizontal area that is hotter than the other panels. This is a possible problem with the panel.

Thermal image of solar panel


Wildlife Management

After the fires on Kangaroo Island in January 2020, Eagle Drones used thermal imaging to count the number of Koala’s in the Flinders Chase National Park.  The thermal images allowed us to see only the koala’s in the tree’s.  The images taken were then processed using computer aided vision algorithms to produce an accurate count of Koala’s.  the image below shows Koala’s in a tree as we would view them using our FLIR camera.

Thermal image of Koala in a tree


Infrastructure Inspection

When carrying out Inspection work on infrastructure we use the thermal imaging to be able to see things such as heat escaping from gaps, tension on wires, holes or cracks or even pest activity such as termites or birds.  The image below shows where there is a hot spot on the wire and insulation.  This could indicate either an earth leak or metal fatigue.

thermal imaging of buildings can show where heat is being lost.  An excellent way to reduce heating/cooling costs is to use thermal imaging to find where heat is escaping from the building.  In the image below, the main offender is the windows.  In this case you could install double glazed windows!

In the following image, an earthquake damaged building is inspected.  The heat loss is seen through the cracks!


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