The solar power industry is a rapidly growing sector, so much so that Australian Standards (AS) has recently revisited its standard AS 5033.
The updated and revised version aims to attend to the almost 4 million systems that have been installed across Australia in the past 2 decades, largely thanks to a dramatic reduction of costs. This has of course concurrently meant that there is a greater demand of solar panel inspection, maintenance, and impact on solar energy regulations. With many more users in the sector, solar energy is fast becoming something to master. When manufacturing, owning, and using solar panels, it is still fundamental to meet industry and national compliance requirements and of course safety for everyone involved. For some time, the industry go-to solution to inspect solar panels has been paperless inspection methods – combining a digital checklist with mobile devices. After all, modern and futuristic power and energy solutions deserve futureproof and forward-thinking maintenance and inspection solutions.
Paperless inspection solutions are uniquely designed to be both adaptable and user-friendly. Updates and revisions to manuals, inspection methods or industry regulations such as AS 5033 could be cumbersome and frustrating with pen and paper inspection setups but can be drastically quick and simple with digital platforms. By everything being attached directly to checklists, the reference material can be refreshed on every checklist remotely. Equally, if there are checklists that have been designed to specifically comply with a regulation such as AS 5033, the checklist itself could be quickly modified to be in line with the new updates. With a printed copy, it is of course not so straightforward. Alongside the attachment of reference material and setting up checklists for specific compliance checks, digital inspection brings with it a whole host of other benefits for the user. Features such as taking pictures with the device camera and then annotating said picture on the inspection application to then attach it to the report adds another layer of detail. This can be extremely important to show wear and tear of the photovoltaic panels on the solar system, or a deficiency in the cabling. Barcodes and RFID can also be scanned using the same device camera. Sometimes solar panels may be in a remote area where it may be difficult to operate and conduct an inspection. For this offline reporting comes in handy when the internet signal may momentarily drop, just as speech-to-text data input helps for a handsfree experience.