Benefits of Photogrammetric Aerial Surveys in Renewable Projects

By Cas Biekmann | Mon, 09/14/2020 - 15:12

The renewable energy market is booming but COVID-19 has made it difficult to put boots on the ground. Drone photogrammetry is helping mitigate that hurdle. The high-tech approach to collecting data helps companies optimize the layout of wind and solar farms, enables efficient civil engineering and aids in obtaining environmental and social permits.

Photogrammetry is the science of making accurate measurements and models based on photographs. It lets companies accurately capture and model giant land parcels. In combination with applied techniques, photogrammetry offers many solutions when analyzing large territories. SOWITEC, one of the world’s largest developers for renewable energy projects, adds drones into the mix, which makes taking pictures needed to generate data simple, safe and cost-effective.

The information from the photographs can then be used to create virtual models. These models are completely identical to the explored territory. Users can then implement a software created specifically for infrastructure design in urban areas and beyond to manipulate and alter the environment to gauge the potential impact from their equipment and vice versa.

Through this approach, renewable energy companies are able to conduct a multidisciplinary analysis. This includes identifying environmental factors, studying bodies of water and analyzing human settlements. Time frames for this method decrease drastically because the project developer no longer depends on the work of human professionals plodding around the area.

Previously, light aircraft had been used in the process of photogrammetry. The main disadvantage is that planes requires extensive flight plans and pilots with special training. Applying modern applications like drones eliminates these shortcomings. With a drone, one single skilled operator can do all the work, without having to take a foot off the ground. Neither the environment nor staff are put in harm’s way. All that is needed to obtain optimal results is a clear sky, which Mexico’s climate facilitates.

For renewable energy projects, truly understanding every key factor that could impact the project’s development is crucial. Any minor mistake in estimation could derail the structure and jeopardize the predicted energy yield. Even worse, it could lead to environmental damage and obstruct community relationships, or even permitting, from the get-go. The smart use of photogrammetry minimizes these potential hazards.

By using this innovate method in its own project development, SOWITEC is able to comply with strict security protocols and ensure high-quality standards in its execution. The approach allows the company to revolutionize the sector in new ways, adding value to the social benefits of its renewable projects. Even more: it is a path to contributing to Mexico environmental sustainability.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst