QE Solar launches piloted aircraft inspections for solar PV, powered by Raptor Maps


QE Solar, a leading third-party O&M and asset management provider, has expanded its internal aerial inspection capabilities to include piloted aircraft. The company has selected Raptor Maps’ industry-leading software to power its aerial inspection program, consisting of both piloted airplanes and unmanned drones. The formal announcement was made at the PV Operations USA conference in San Diego this week.

As part of the offering, QE Solar’s customers can access analytics from both imaging systems in the Raptor Maps’ platform, and benchmark their portfolios with Raptor Maps’ 12 GW global dataset. The benchmarking data includes module information and defect categorization, which customers access both in a dashboard and software-compatible API. QE Solar will also provide system owners with the original FLIR thermograms to support each finding and ensure transparency and accuracy.

“QE Solar maximizes the ROI for our customers by taking a quantitative, engineering approach to the PV systems that we manage,” says Tom Marden, VP of Technical Services at QE Solar. “Our strategy is to deploy our aircraft to detect major issues, and follow up with IEC-compliant drone inspections that are acceptable for warranty claims. Raptor Maps’ software puts auditable, actionable data in the hands of our customers, and allows them to maintain awareness of all inspections of their assets.”

This hybrid approach allows QE Solar to provide aerial inspections across its fast-growing, geographically-dispersed portfolio. The company currently serves PV system asset owners in 32 states, and has grown its assets under management to over 950 MW and servicing over 2.5 GW in the past year. QE Solar has a team of FAA-licensed pilots, including 3 commercial-rated and 7 drone-rated pilots, and plans to add 4 more in the next year.

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