Our goal is to process your data as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure customer delight. We invest a significant amount of time and effort to process it successfully the first time, however, capturing these thousands of images can be tricky and we understand that. Therefore, we created the following guidelines that apply to both your flight and as-built plans to ensure your data is uploaded in a manner that allows us to extract the needed results. We promise these best practices will save you a lot of time and frustration.

As-Built Plan

For operations larger than 5 Ha, an up-to-date, accurately geo-referenced as-built plan should be set-up on the site as an overlay, prior to the confirmation of the operation. This is crucial to ensure all of your data is spatially-mapped correctly.

The as-built plan needs to meet the following requirements:

  • The as-built plan should be recent to match the site as closely as possible
  • Needs to show clear physical reference points (such as roads, buildings, rivers, tables, panels, etc.)
  • Accurately scaled so it can be geo-referenced on the map
  • Supported file formats are PDF and DXF. If there is only a PDF, the site or reference points of the as-built plan must be visible on the satellite image in the platform so it can be accurately geo-referenced.
  • The as-built plan should cover all the areas that need analysis - areas not covered might not be analysed
  • No hand-drawn or scanned site plans

If you do not have an as-built plan available, a Survey Essential of 5cm / pixel GSD or higher resolution needs to be acquired to generate an as-built plan. If unsure, please get in touch with your account manager or our support team at support@sitemark.com for advice to avoid any unexpected delays and/or additional costs.

Examples

Good - outlines of banks visible as physical reference points

Not Good - too low resolution

Drone-Captured Visual (RGB) Photo Requirements

  • GSD: 1.0 cm per pixel at panel level (tips for roofs)
  • Front-Overlap (direction of flight): 80%
  • Side Overlap: 80%
  • Flight Direction: Along the long edge of the solar rows
  • Flight Path: At least 2 flight lines should be outside the boundaries of the operation in all directions
  • Gimbal Orientation: Nadir (-90 deg) with deviation up to 20 deg acceptable (to avoid glare)
  • Image Format: JPEG. Each image should contain the following metadata: GPS location, relative altitude, gimbal pitch, gimbal yaw, gimbal roll and timestamp
  • Image Quality: in focus, free from motion blur and minimal glare

Drone-Captured Thermal Photo Requirements

  • GSD: 5.0 cm per pixel at panel level (tips for roofs)
  • Front-Overlap (direction of flight): 80%
  • Side Overlap: 80%
  • Image Resolution: 640x512 pixels or greater
  • Flight Direction: Along the long edge of the solar rows
  • Flight Path: At least 2 flight lines should be outside the boundaries of the operation in all directions
  • Gimbal Orientation: Nadir (-90 deg) with deviation up to 20 deg acceptable (to avoid glare)
  • Image format: R-JPEG or Radiometric TIF. Each image should contain the following metadata: GPS location, relative altitude, gimbal pitch, gimbal yaw, gimbal roll and timestamp
  • Image Quality: in focus, free from motion blur and minimal glare
  • Environmental Conditions: Irradiance ≥ 600 Watts per sqm recommended, skies clear and sunny or slightly overcast, Wind speed below 5 m/s, Humidity ideally less than 60%
  • Special Considerations for Single-Axis Trackers:
    Avoid flying in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lowest to minimize inter-row glare. Trackers should be as horizontal as possible, up to a maximum 45 deg tilt.
  • Special Considerations for Double-Axis Trackers: Trackers should be as horizontal as possible, up to a maximum 45 deg tilt. Increase altitude if needed to make sure every tracker is entirely visible on at least one photo.

Blocks

To ensure weather conditions are kept homogeneous across the operation, operations larger than 5ha should always be separated into blocks.

In case of large elevation differences across the site, to ensure a consistent GSD, operations need to be cut in blocks for each 10m elevation difference.

Each block will have to be flown separately. Such divisions may require several batteries to be flown over the entirety of the site. This will not impact the output of the data product, which will be merged during processing.

The platform currently does not let you cut operations in blocks. When an operation is created, just reach out to our support team to let them know and they will cut the operation on your behalf.

⚠️ Limitations

This data product is not compatible with water floating solar sites. Please use Solar Inspection Essential instead.

Did this answer your question?