Postgraduate Issue V2I1- Kong | Journal of CESaRE
The Journal of Caribbean Environmental Sciences and Renewable Energy (CESaRE) was developed in 2016 out of a recognized need to modernize and revolutionize the Caribbean's scientific research publishing. There are over 170 Caribbean research publications in the past 5 years falling under the broad field of environmental sciences, found scattered over a large variety of International journals, without a central (Caribbean) location to collate this knowledge. With the global shift towards renewable over traditional energy sources, together with a rise in environmental consciousness, this a perfect opportunity for highlighting such research conducted in the Caribbean. CESaRE will provide a suitable forum to encourage research into renewable energy, as well as the environmental sciences. CESaRE promises to be more than just a collection of articles, but also a forum to disseminate information and bridge the gap between research and implementation, from which Caribbean leaders, relevant industry partners, and authorities can use our Journal for more effective decision making and environmental management.
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A Review of Fault Monitoring for Utility-Scale Solar Arrays

                                                  Kriston Kong                                                     University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2019        DOI:  10.33277/CESARE/002.001/02

ABSTRACT

As the solar energy output of the Caribbean grows, so does its need for proper maintenance of such systems. Solar modules degrade with time, and with this degradation comes a loss in their electrical performance. Solar module performance is also affected by common problems such as: manufacturer defects, adverse weather, and accidental damage. Thus, in order for a PV plant to maintain its capacity factor, the plant personnel must regularly inspect and maintain the array to ensure that anything detrimental to their performance is identified and rectified. This paper seeks to provide insight into the maintenance and inspection processes used by local and regional photovoltaic (PV) operators. These insights include the current methods that local PV operators use for fault inspection and maintenance. The effectiveness of these methods will be investigated and the way these methods could be improved will be explored. The
inspection and maintenance techniques will also be compared to the current global standards, to determine whether local PV projects are operating competitively in an international context. Additionally, this paper will explore current trends and innovative methods of inspection, such as thermographic imaging for fault detection and the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for automated/semi-automated inspection. The cost-effectiveness and value proposition these innovative systems have to offer will also be analyzed to empirically determine what local PV operators stand to gain if these systems were developed and adopted.

KEYWORDS

Solar arrays, fault monitoring, photovoltaic, PV operators. unmanned aerial systems

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The Caribbean is experiencing rapid changes in its energy landscape and renewable technologies are becoming increasingly important sources of power. Kong investigates the use of automated Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) which soar above solar panels, taking thermal images to detect faults and damages. 

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