DEWA deploys drones for maintenance operations
Eye in the sky allows utility to inspect rooftop solar panels on Al Quoz building.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has begun using drones to inspect solar panels on the roof of its sustainable building in Al Quoz.
The rooftop hosts photovoltaic panels that produce 600 kW of electricity. The new Sirb (Arabic for fleet) initiative allows the utility to monitor cleaning activities, which are essential for the panels to function properly in desert conditions.
The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) scan the building's roof, which has an approximate area of 100,000 square feet, in less than five minutes and provide Ultra HD (4K) images with a resolution of over 20 mega pixels.
The drones use state-of-the-art upgradable technologies such as high-definition cameras that are equipped with night-vision and laser technologies, GPS sensors, and can measure pressure, height, magnetic fields, and use ultrasound scanning.
They are also used to inspect the water cooling process in Evaporators, enabling DEWA to operate without fully shutting them down for maintenance. DEWA also uses drones to regularly review its projects and obtain progress reports by taking panoramic pictures.
The drones provide early detection by using thermal imaging for overhead power lines. This limits risks and reduces costs, enables a quick response and is very accurate, making it easier to make informed decisions.
DEWA is also looking into expanding the scope of its drone use. In addition to locating equipment, DEWA is experimenting with technology to detect overhead line insulator failures that can cause power outages.