Improve Solar Panel Maintenance and Condition Monitoring Efficiency

You can’t tame the wind, but you can make its damage easier to detect.

Solar glass is pretty tough stuff. It’s built to withstand a lot, but a strong gust of wind can sometimes be enough to do serious damage. Even though a panel’s tracker is designed to handle a certain amount of pressure, a particularly strong gust can instantaneously apply more pressure than the tracker can handle. Without that hydraulic “give” to compensate for the gust, there is the potential for structural damage to the panel itself.

Sensors that reduce manual checking

When you’re responsible for an array of thousands of panels, you don’t want to have to manually check each one for possible damage after a windy night. Fortunately, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is driving an influx of smart sensors that allow maintenance staff to quickly and easily narrow down their search.

Pressure sensors applied to trackers can take consistent readings of each tracker’s hydraulic load and transmit that information to a wireless diagnostic monitoring device that’s within range. With a historic readout of the pressure applied to a tracker, users can identify spikes in pressure beyond what a tracker can handle, which is a good indicator of potential structural damage. This helps to pinpoint exactly which panels need immediate attention, increasing maintenance efficiency.

Monitor solar trackers

A reliable condition monitoring solution can also help monitor solar trackers for steady increases in pressure trends. The trending data can show when a tracker is working harder to keep a solar panel in its proper position, which can indicate a faulty part that needs to be replaced before the whole unit breaks down.

Parker Hannifin has developed technology specifically for tracking pressure and other asset conditions. Contact Parker today to see how its SensoNODE™ Blue sensors and SCOUT™ Mobile software can improve condition monitoring for your predictive maintenance strategy. Learn more here