Ahmedabad-based Gensol Group, a solar consulting and project management company, is rolling out a digital solution for monitoring solar plants using drones to take on the emerging competition.
With regulations for drones taking effect from December 1, the company is gearing up to register its initial fleet of at least 50 to 70 drones on the government’s Digital Sky Portal, Anmol Singh Jaggi, Gensol’s founder, told BusinessLine.
These drones will monitor the solar plants — operational and under construction — shooting images that will be processed by a custom-made image-recognition software in real time.
This will enable identifying and resolving the issues immediately, helping the power generators reduce the potential downtime.
“For a solar project, you first need to drill a hole, place a column on which the module will be mounted and then do trenching for cables. With the help of the drone and the image recognition software, data on the number of columns completed, the number of modules installed and the number of km of trenches dug up can be collated and passed on to our office on the fly,”” Jaggi said.
He added that Gensol will be flying drones powered by fuel cells that enable them to be on air for four hours.
Conventionally, drones are powered by lithium-ion batteries that give them a 30- minute air time.
$1 million investment
The company is already using drones for ‘operation and maintenance’ (O&M) work.
The drones are being used for thermographic inspection to identify non-performing modules as well as monitor the security of solar plants.
However, the new solution provides larger scope for automation and enables data analysis in real time, Jaggi added. According to him, Gensol has invested at least $1 million in the software and will invest more in the drone fleet and the supporting infrastructure.
While Gensol has been growing its original business verticals such as project consulting and O&M (executed through a joint venture with Spanish Solariq), it has recently ventured into manufacturing and is also exploring opportunities in the e-vehicles and e-mobility markets.
Though the company has appointed an investment banker to prepare for an IPO, it will go ahead with the plan once the condition in stock markets improves, Jaggi said.