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Solar Panel Inspection Drone Guide

May 19th, 2023

Many industries including solar farms use solar panels as a renewable source for energy production. This method results in impressive energy output but necessitates aerial solar inspection to lower maintenance costs and ensure solar panels are devoid of faulty panels and produce what they should.

Manual inspections of solar panels, especially at elevated locations, can be risky and time-consuming. Instead of sacrificing time and effort to personally inspect each solar cell in a solar farm, using drones equipped with drone technology simplifies the job in terms of safety, time, and effort.

In this article, we'll dive into why drone solar panel inspection is essential, the best types of solar inspection drones, and tips for conducting a solar farm inspection with a focus on efficient maintenance.

Table Of Contents

Solar Panel Drone Inspection

Solar panel drone inspection uses high-powered optical cameras to efficiently inspect your solar assets, with optical and EO/IR imaging providing clear images for reliable assessment.

Using American-made drones ensures complete privacy regarding anything your drone detects, especially as the US government cracks down on Chinese drone companies.

Protecting your solar panel data is crucial, so using a drone from a secure and reliable American manufacturer is a priority.

While a ground inspection can alert you to many solar panel issues, these surveys take longer, require more manpower, and aren't as thorough as using a drone, which can efficiently cover large areas and detect issues that might be missed by the human eye.

man doing a solar drone inspection

You can save aerial data to compare between surveys, easily noticing any difference between the solar panel quality from the footage.

Why Use a Drone for Solar Panel Inspection?

Drones simplify the process of inspecting solar panels. They fly on a flight path with speeds and altitudes you can set before they launch.

They can cover your entire solar panel farm and collect data using high-quality cameras.

worker solar inspection drone

You then analyze the footage to keep track of your solar panel quality and maintenance, targeting specific issues that can streamline upkeep and efficiency.

Short flight times allow for quick data collection, streamlining assessment, maintenance, and upgrading tasks, enabling you to manage more projects efficiently while reducing operational costs and improving overall solar farm performance.

Types of Solar Panel Inspection Drones

Choosing to use drones for your solar panel inspections opens up a lot of potential.

At Inspired Flight, we recommend the IF1200A and the IF750 for solar inspection. These drones are able to carry payloads equipped with thermal imaging, making them ideal for identifying issues in solar cells and ensuring efficient maintenance of solar assets.


If you need a reliable, durable drone for solar panel inspection, the IF1200A is the way to go. This is Inspired Flight’s most impressive heavy-lift drone, with a maximum payload of 19 pounds.

Even when you load up this drone, it can still reach a top speed of 51 MPH and a max flight time of 43 minutes, providing everything you need for a thorough inspection.

The IF1200A is one of Inspired Flight’s top recommended drones for solar panel inspections, making it safe, efficient, and affordable to operate.

inspired flight american made drone

When using our drone, you can adjust the intended altitude and set the flight path to ensure the drone oversees all your solar panels for a thorough survey.


Another reliable drone for solar panel inspections made exclusively with American parts and a universal payload is the IF750.

This drone is easy to operate when you want to inspect solar panels in any area, even those with limited accessibility since it's extremely compact, portable, and designed to maneuver in tight spaces.

American made drone

It can handle a maximum payload weight of 4.6 pounds with a flight time of 37 minutes. The ascension speed is 16 feet per second, ascension is 10 feet per second, with an overall maximum speed of 40 MPH.

Thermal Imaging and Drone Technology

Thermal imaging is integral in detecting discrepancies in solar panels and ensuring energy production is not compromised. Combined with advanced drone technology, it provides a detailed insight into the solar panel’s health and power generation capabilities.

Tips For Solar Panel Drone Inspections

Whether you choose the IF1200A or the IF750, these tips will ensure you get the best results from a solar panel drone inspection.

Survey the Site First

While using a drone cuts down on plenty of human effort, it’s still best to manually patrol the site to ensure you set the drone on the ideal flight path.

Look for obstructions like power lines or tree branches to prevent accidents. You can also scope out places for emergency landings.

Angle the Camera Properly

The angle is crucial because the solar panels can reflect light into the lens and distort the footage. Angle your drone camera straight down or perpendicular to the panels to ensure they pick up clear visuals and detailed data.

Perform Solar Farm Inspections on Clear Days

An overcast day can cloud the results of your drone camera. The [Okta scale]( ranges from zero as completely clear or eight as fully overcast (aim for two or less for the best footage).

Don’t Fly on a Windy Day

Winds over 15 MPH can compromise your drone footage because they cool the solar panels and can hide any damage. These winds can also quickly deplete the drone’s charge and produce blurry footage.

Why Choose Inspired Flight?

Inspired Flight makes high-quality American-made drones for solar panel inspections with universal heavy lift payload, remote ID, and government certification.

These drones are NDAA compliant and Blue UAS certified, cleared by the US government for military use.


In conclusion, if you are in need of solar panel inspections and are interested in using Inspired Flight drones for your commercial solar inspections, contact us for more information on our most popular models that prioritize quality, security, and durability with American-made parts.

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