Similar to every other industry, digitisation has hit the industry of solar energy as well. The traditional approach of manually operating these massive solar farms has been a tedious task, and with the rising demand for clean energy, the process becomes even more challenging. This, in turn, has called for standardising the processes of managing solar farms and bringing in digitisation to drive a seamless operation of solar power plants. To address such needs, startups like SenseHawk have been established.
Founded by two experienced professionals of the industry — Swarup Mavanoor and Rahul Sankhe in 2018, the startup, SenseHawk builds software to bring in AI and automation for solar companies to have a seamless operation across teams, according to the company’s website. With an aim to create a cleaner planet by providing AI-powered software processes for the solar industry, this California and Bangalore-based startup claims to have deployed its software at over 400 solar sites.
Sign up for your weekly dose of what's up in emerging technology.
To understand better, how the startup is leveraging AI, ML and analytics techniques for helping the solar industry, we got in touch with one of the founders, Swarup Mavanoor. To start with, he said, “Our AI-powered software not only speeds up the operating process for solar companies but also ensures efficiency in its clear inspection,” said Mavanoor.
How AI-Powered Software Works?
In order to provide digitisation to solar companies, SenseHawk has developed an AI-powered software tool that has been designed to be compatible with analysing data from all sorts of devices like drones, cameras, sensors etc., used in solar asset management. This AI-powered software can help solar companies to streamline asset processes for an entire solar lifecycle.
Two of the company’s core applications are — Eye and Therm that leverage cutting-edge AI algorithms to enable automatic detection of hotspots and help solar companies sift through and process tens of thousands of thermal images captured by drones.
The AI-based asset management tool — Eye provides a 360-degree view of construction sites of any size, with simplified monitoring, whereas, the infrared image processing and reporting tool — Therm uses AI to detect and classify defects on a site based on thermal imagery. From structure installations and module mounting to grading/levelling and cable laying, SenseHawk’s Eye can effectively monitor all the work being done on-site and accurately assess their quality and progress with the help of images acquired by drones. Besides monitoring, Eye can also be utilised for quality checks, as-built validation, and inventory control.
On the other hand, Therm works with thermal imagery that ensures the optimal health of solar sites. This fully automated AI workflow creates a thermal map of your solar site, helping evaluate severity and energy loss, schedule maintenance of routine or one-off activities, and track all existent defects, thus maximising the project’s energy yield. By accurately mapping the detected issues to the site model, Therm enables managers to isolate those issues and assess the overall performance, through an easy to use web interface.
“We have developed a geographic information system, design automation, and data management platform enabling developers to manage multiple development projects and big scaled sites,” said Mavanoor, when asked about the technological standpoint. “The AI-based technology platform can help gather all accurate measurements real-time and create contour maps to better understand your site, and create high-resolution cloud points as you go to keep your project running smoothly,” he adds.
Furthermore, the company is also successfully leveraging the digital twin technology to essentially provide the solar companies with a real-time look at their physical assets and their performances. By integrating cross-platform data with a cloud-based site model, SenseHawk enabled seamless access to relevant information at all stages of the solar asset life cycle.
“While frameworks like Vuejs, Tensorflow, PyTorch, Django, Nodejs, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB are some of the tools currently being used by our developers, our next plausible step is to build new modules in the pipeline and to improve our existing products including the computer vision modules,” said Mavanoor. “SenseHawk is also looking to apply deep learning technology to solve the challenges related to solar plant layout design optimisation.”
Currently, SenseHawk is looking to build a one-stop solution to solve all emerging changes in our solar industry. As a matter of fact, the ongoing pandemic has spurred the digitisation wave in the solar industry and necessitated remote management for which drone data analytics plays a pivotal role. This, in turn, has had a positive impact on the startup.
According to the news media, the company so far has delivered the power of AI and analytics for more than 28 gigawatts of solar assets across 15 countries worldwide. “With our AI-based software, the solar companies can now experience automation and tackle their efficiency problem effectively,” concluded Mavanoor.