Infrared thermography for photovoltaic installations

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Infrared thermography for photovoltaic installations:

Trotec provides the ideal thermal imaging camera to meet your needs.

High resolution, high thermal sensitivity... those are only two of the qualities a thermal imaging camera should feature for the inspection of photovoltaic installations. Trotec has the appropriate equipment on offer – in case of temporary usage also for rent.

But why does the thermography of photovoltaic installations put so high requirements on a thermal imaging camera? Here you can find out what an infrared camera should be equipped with in order to attain relevant measuring results.

Thermal sensitivity

The surface of solar modules is not transparent for uncooled infrared cameras. Which means that: the temperature of the solar cell is only measured indirectly at the glass surface. There, the temperature difference can be rather minor. A high thermal sensitivity of 0.08°C is advantageous. In the pseudo colour image this implies a differentiated display of every measuring spot differing by 0.08°C and a more accurate localization of the error source than with less sensitivity. 

High resolution

The more pixels, the clearer and more nuanced is the pseudo colour image. A high resolution is particularly important for large-scale solar installations, which are shot from a larger distance. This way, small error sources like defective soldering joints can also be rendered visible and detectable. Ideal are interchangeable lenses, thus a wide-angle lens can be used for the detection of large solar installation from afar.

Moveable display

The glass surface's emissivity is at a maximum when the camera lens is being held in a vertical position to the module. Yet at the same time there is a risk of the camera's reflection showing on the glass surface, which can lead to faulty results. The only reasonable compromise is a viewing angle between 5° and 60°, provided a vertical line is defined as 0°. A prerequisite for this flexibility is a moveable camera display.

Integrated digital camera

Using the integrated digital camera, you can create real images to match the respective thermogram, which simplifies the orientation when localizing the error source. Yet another advantage for the accurate determination of the defective spot is a merge mode, which enables daylight shots and pseudo colour images to be superimposed. 

Optimum measurement conditions for significant measuring results

You can purchase the perfect infrared camera from Trotec, just as important for significant measuring results are, however, the prevailing conditions during the measuring operation.
Ideal is a chilly, calm morning with clear skies in spring or in the summertime. Required to activate the solar cells is an insolation of at least 500 W/m², better are 700 W/m². Low ambient temperatures further increase the thermal contrast.

Sudden clouding, shadowing or partial shading, e.g. caused by high buildings or reflections, compromise the measuring results and should be avoided.

The highly sensitive Trotec infrared cameras IC085LV and IC125LV make the grade thanks to excellent features for the thermography inspection of photovoltaic installations. Here you can find an overview along with all relevant features of the infrared cameras of the IC series.