Infrared Imaging as a PV Characterization Tool - Self Study


Author: Dr. James Rand

Subjects: Solar: Design and Installation

Length: 1 module

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Along with the increasing popularity of solar PV systems comes the need for high-quality operations and maintenance (O&M). This is an area that is often overlooked but has been gaining attention in recent years. In this lecture, Dr. James Rand introduces infrared imaging (IR) technology and explains how it can be used to greatly improve solar PV O&M.

The use of infrared images is a well-known technique for building inspections and electrical trouble shooting. It is also very useful in diagnosing the health of PV modules working in the field.

Other than monitoring the overall array energy generation, IR imaging is one of the few techniques available to get detailed information on the health of PV modules after they are installed. This information can be critical in identifying both performance and safety issues. Many potential problems can be found and rectified before they significantly impact performance or generate an unsafe condition. A broad range of defects, including those related to manufacturing and workmanship details can be identified, if you know what to look for.

IR imaging is a powerful tool to access the health of modules while that operate in the array. It should be a routine part of all PV quality acceptance programs, as well as annual operations and maintenance programs.

Learning Objectives

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Earn Continuing Education Credits

Approved for: NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours, NABCEP JTA, NABCEP RE Elective, NABCEP PV Associate Renewal.

Approved NABCEP CEU Hours by Credential and Category

NABCEP Credential Advanced Hours for Exam Recertification CEU Hours NEC JTA RE Elective Building or Fire Code
PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification 1 1 0 1 1 0
PV Associate (PVA) Credential 0 1 0 0 0 0
PV Design Specialist (PVDS) Certification 1 1 0 1 1 0
PV Installer Specialist (PVIS) Certification 1 1 0 1 1 0
PV Technical Sales (PVTS) Certification 1 1 0 1 1 0
PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist (PVCMS) Certification 1 1 0 1 1 0

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Dr. James Rand

Core Energy Works

Dr. James Rand has over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing, research, and development of solar energy products. His work spans the entire value chain, from raw materials to system level performance. His recent technical projects focused on testing and evaluation of solar modules for performance and long-term reliability. This work led to the formation of Core...[more]

Course Outline

Infrared Imaging as a PV Characterization Tool

This lecture reviews the IR imaging technique as it applies to PV modules and discusses equipment, weather conditions, and array operating conditions. Approximately half of the lecture is devoted to real-world examples of IR images of defective modules. Participants will receive guidance on how to interpret IR images in order to determine what requires immediate attention versus what may be normal and expected for a functioning solar array.

  • Infrared Imaging as a PV Characterization Tool (Video - 57:05 minutes)
  • Inspecting Roof Mounted Solar Panels with Thermal Imaging - FLIR (Download .pdf)

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