Many solar companies employ an in-house drone pilot. Why? Because drones lower the cost of design, installation, inspections and maintenance in solar projects of all sizes. They can help save a lot of money on big projects, and a little bit of money on small projects.

Solar companies that don’t have an in-house pilot can contract with contract firms like SkySpecs, PrecisionHawk, DroneDeploy, Unmanned Experts – there are dozens of others.

According to Measure: “For commissioning, warranty, or regular maintenance, drone inspections are 95 percent more efficient and identify defects, tracker misalignment, shading, tower and substation conditions that manual inspections might miss. Drone inspections take less than 10 minutes per MW and save, on average, $1200/MW in costs, with larger sites saving more. Their higher accuracy can help improve a site’s energy production; one customer estimated $42,000 in additional revenue resulting from repairs typically missed by a manual inspection.”

“A solar farm inspection by drone costs up to 46% less than a manual inspection.”

“It’s not terribly difficult to become a commercial drone operator,” says Keven Gambold, HeatSpring’s first drone instructor. Keven offers a free course to help companies pick the right drone for the job, and a full certification course for anyone that wants to operate with a commercial license.

“Give me twelve weeks and you’ll be off and running!”