ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Technology

Alsok drones will check for problems at megasolar plants

TOKYO -- Sohgo Security Services, or Alsok, is the latest Japanese company to find a commercial application for unmanned aircraft.

     As early as next month, Alsok will launch a service offering periodic inspections at megasolar plants, using drones to check for problems with solar panels from above.

     When a solar panel at a huge solar power plant malfunctions and generates less electricity, the increased electrical resistance makes it heat up. Warm spots will be revealed by an unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with cameras and infrared sensors that transmits images and thermographs to the ground. The drones will follow routes programmed in advance.

     A 2,000kW-class megasolar plant has more than 8,000 solar panels installed across some 30,000 sq. meters. Walking around with hand-held meters to test each panel takes days. A drone can finish the job in just 15 minutes.

     Such aerial inspection can be done by a human piloting a small plane but costs 1.5 million yen ($14,000) a flight. Alsok intends to offer its service at a fifth of that price. The company will start taking orders in October and hopes to ink 400 to 500 contracts over the next three to five years.

     Alsok also plans to use drones in a similar service identifying damaged turbine blades at wind farms.

     Other Japanese businesses are finding their own uses for drones.

     Security company Secom plans to introduce them later this fiscal year to track and photograph unauthorized vehicles detected entering large commercial facilities after business hours.

     Engineering giant Chiyoda is thinking about putting drones to work in managing the materials used to construct huge oil and gas plants. The materials are spread out, with guards stationed to prevent loss and theft. Through attaching smart tags to the materials and checking their whereabouts using radio signals from a hovering drone, the number of guards can be reduced.

(Nikkei)

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more