Thermographic Cameras For Use on Wide Variety of Photovoltaic Installations

thermal imaging of a photovoltaic small plant

Over the last years a remarkable increase of photovoltaic installations for producing renewable energy with both residential and non-residential buildings could be registered. At the same time large solar power plants were installed for using the sun’s energy. In the next years the use of renewable energies will become increasingly important.

Over the time many installations are losing part of their initially installed power which leads to a decrease in energy yield. Single cells break down, important components such as inverter do not operate at their maximum efficiency. As a consequence - besides reduced yields - warming and overheating of local faults caused by parasitic currents can cause further damage to the installation and finally lead to fires, too. Using thermal imaging, these faults - also named hotspots - can be located easily due to their thermal signature and subsequently be repaired targetedly. Due to the variety of manufacturers of photovoltaic installations that are in use today, a multitude of defects can show most diverse geometry and appearance. A prerequisite for reliable fault detection is the use of thermographic cameras with outstanding features as well as the expertise of skilled auditors. 

Thermographic Cameras Allow for Efficient Inspection in Running Processes

State-of-the-art thermographic cameras of the VarioCAM® High Definition series do not only offer a quick overview on large-scale plants but are also able to reliably capture small defects on photovoltaic modules in detail. Next to the high geometric resolution for this type of application the viewfinder of the infrared camera is of advantage. The full capacity of photovoltaic modules is generated in the course of a day in direct sunlight. Therewith, the thermographer whose task it is to inspect the modules can work even more efficiently than with a display that is exposed to brightest sunlight. Modern precision telephoto lenses or wide-angle-lenses complete the equipment for this demanding measuring task. Thus, installations of each size can be inspected efficiently and reliably, even from inconvenient points of view. Using the thermographic test system PV-LIT by InfraTec already during production the different types of solar cells and moduls can be checked for the most varied defects.

thermal imaging of a solar module

Associated Thermographic Automation Solutions

  • PV-LIT test solution for solar cells
    Photovoltaic Test System - PV-LIT

    Photovoltaic Test System - PV-LIT

    Get advantages in costing and quality by non-contact thermographic testing of your solar cells and PV-modules.

  • Solar Power Tower Check - Picture credits: © / paulrommer
    Solar Power Tower Check - SPTC

    Solar Power Tower Check - SPTC

    Solar tower power plants belong to the category of solar-thermal power plants whose basic principle relies on the absorption of direct radiation from the sun and its conversion into thermal energy.

  • Thermografic automation for site surveillance IROD
    Site Surveillance - IROD

    Site Surveillance - IROD

    Calibrated measuring cameras offer the option of a completely automated site surveillance by utilising temperature alarms – an approach well beyond the simple and susceptible motion detection systems used elsewhere. With IROD InfraTec offers a scaleable, powerful system solution.

Case Study about Photovoltaic Installations

Cell defects and disruptions
Usage of VarioCAM® hr inspect 780 for photovoltaic testing

Inspection of High Voltage Networks

Like for all electrical devices, solar cells and modules need to be maintained especially as they are located outdoors. Infrared thermo-graphy offers the possibility to localize and classify problems fast and also with a high accuracy.

Fast Reporting of Inspection Results

The easy-to-handle concept of the infrared camera as well as a low maintenance requirement are a big advantage for the user. Especially the VarioCAM® HD inspect series provides a rugged design and excellent handling features for outdoor applications. The thermographic software IRBIS® 3 allows for an efficient reporting of the acquired thermographic data and for generating comprehensive reports in order to assure a clearly structured and complete documentation of the inspection results.

Trained staff for preventing measurement errors and misinterpretations

The use of a infrared camera easily brings a number of "colourful images". Of most importance when analysing thermal images is a profound knowledge about the function of photovoltaic installations as well as about physical regularities. On a regular basis InfraTec offers application-oriented trainings on the inspection of photovoltaic installations with thermographic cameras at its training centre in Dresden.

Photovoltaic thermal imaging shows cell failures

Advantages of this Thermography Solutions in this Application

  • MicroScan feature ImageIR
    Further information about MicroScan

    MicroScan – Quadrupling the Number of Pixels

    Displaying measurement objects with extremely low noise and fine resolution – this is what MicroScan is for. Using this function, the native pixel number of the detector can be quadrupled. This results in thermograms of better image quality with geometric resolutions of more than 5.2 Megapixels. Each pixel in the image represents a true temperature reading, not an interpolated pixel.

  • InfraTec Glossary Motorfocus
    Further information about the motor focus

    Motor Focus for ImageIR® Full Lenses – More Comfort

    All interchangeable standard lens systems of the ImageIR® series can be combined with a motor focus unit, which is controlled by the camera operating software. It enables precise, remote and fast focusing. In addition, an autofocus function is available which operates reliably even with low image contrasts.

  • InfraTec thermography glossary - autofocus
    Further information about permanent autofocus

    Permanent Autofocus

    Constantly changing object scenes require manual or automatic refocusing. The integrated permanent autofocus function makes this task easier. In the case of a change of scene, the camera automatically applies the optimum focus setting quickly and precisely. The completely innovative, very powerful autofocus system is laser-based and works extremely reliably. Even under unfavourable environmental conditions, such as poor lighting conditions, darkness or low thermal contrasts on the measuring object, this function provides exactly focused thermal images.

  • infrared camera VarioCAM HD head of InfraTec
    Further details about the light metal housing

    High-quality Light Metal Housing

    The very robust light metal housing is available with the protection degree IP67 and protects the camera against mechanical and thermal stress. In conjunction with protection degree preserving LEMO® connectors, it is excellently suited for use in harsh industrial environments. For applications under extreme environmental conditions, suitable protective housings are also available, e.g. made from stainless steel, which can optionally be equipped with a cooling and heating system.

  • InfraTec thermography - Geometrical Resolution

    Geometrical Resolution – Efficient Analysis of Complex Assemblies

    InfraTec's infrared cameras with cooled and uncooled detectors have native resolutions up to (1,920 × 1,536) IR pixels. Spatially high-resolution thermograms ensure that components and assemblies are imaged down to the smallest detail and thus defects can be reliably detected and precisely localised.

Get in contact with InfraTec thermography division

Would You Like to Know More?

It is not unusual for tasks to be associated with special requirements. Discuss your specific application needs with our specialists, receive further technical information or learn more about our additional services.

Europe & Rest of World

InfraTec GmbH
Infrarotsensorik und Messtechnik
Gostritzer Str. 61 – 63
01217 DresdenGERMANY

Infrared Cameras for Photovoltaic Thermography

Asso­ci­ated Indus­tries & Applic­a­tions

  • thermal imaging in glass industry
    Glass Industry

    Glass Industry

    Measure correctly temperature distributions behind and on glass by using selected spectral filters.