Measure, a provider of drone services for enterprise customers, has launched a new suite of inspection solutions specifically for solar plant maintenance. In addition, the company is rolling out a training, equipment and support toolkit for broadcast news organizations that want to use their own camera crews for drone-based newsgathering.
The Drone as a Service company, based out of Washington, D.C., says the new turnkey solar solutions enable facility owners, asset managers, and operations and maintenance (O&M) contractors to realize the cost and operational benefits of aerial inspections without having to invest in drones and the training that goes along with them.
“Drone technology has resulted in new savings and efficiency opportunities for the solar energy industry, but a major investment of capital and human resources is required for solar PV plants and O&M contractors to run a drone program in-house,” explains Harjeet Johal, Measure’s vice president of energy infrastructure and a 10-year veteran of the renewable energy industry.
According to the company, solar panel inspections are the cornerstone of the new solution suite; the drones can quickly and cost-effectively identify defective or damaged panels. The suite includes drone-based site overview and maintenance, site shading and terrain analysis, thermal inverter scans, tracker misalignment detection, and vegetation management.
On the newsgathering side, the company’s new toolkit joins Measure’s turnkey broadcast news service – giving media and broadcast companies the option to outsource all drone operations to Measure’s pilots or, instead, leverage the toolkit to capture their own footage.
The package bundles the following:
- Broadcast-ready drone and camera hardware, including the DJI Inspire 2 and DJI X5S Micro 4/3 camera with interchangeable lenses (can be either leased or purchased directly from Measure);
- A LiveU Bonded Cellular Uplink, enabling live footage to be transmitted directly to the customer’s production booth without dependence on a satellite or microwave truck;
- A pilot training program specifically designed for newsgathering and taught by former U.S. military flight instructors;
- Pilot, flight operations and equipment tracking, enabling customers to monitor pilot behavior for potentially dangerous flight operations that compromise safety while also capturing flight logs, project metadata and equipment usage;
- Maintenance and repair support from Measure drone engineers, including assistance in the event of a mishap;
- Preferred insurance with significantly discounted premiums, as well as optional extra coverage for special events;
- Regulatory support to ensure that news crews know when and where it is safe and legal to fly; and
- Help desk assistance via phone or Web portal.
“Drones are now an essential newsgathering tool, but media companies face major challenges in bringing drone newscasting to their operations. You need to be an expert in everything from drone flying to state and federal regulations,” says Jon Ollwerther, Measure’s vice president of media. “With our turnkey service, any news organization can be up and flying today. Now with our toolkit, media organizations can leverage drone technology for reporting purposes while using their own news crew and safely building an in-house capability.”
The solar and newsgathering services are part of Measure’s broader expansion that includes new offices in Washington, D.C.; New York; and Los Angeles.