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Raptor Maps: revolutionary drone technology for solar energy

Raptor Maps: revolutionary drone technology for solar energy

The collaboration between Enel Green Power and Raptor Maps is moving to the next level. By combining remote sensing drones with their computer vision and solar digital twin software, they are helping solar operators increase energy production and reduce maintenance costs and operating risk across their power plants.

Great ideas need to evolve slowly and carefully. That’s how Raptor Maps has developed their Artificial Intelligence-powered software to increase solar power production. Through Enel Green Power we have been collaborating with them for three years and now we can see the results: Raptor Maps is poised to revolutionise the solar industry as we know it.

Raptor Maps helps companies to collect aerial solar data and turn it into comprehensive analytics and actionable reports. The innovative tool? Software that enables scalable drone technology. Their software can detect pre-failure anomalies that cannot be identified with manual electric testing, and this safeguards against power production loss. “Not only does this technology immediately save time and money, by reducing manual testing time, but it also enables a quantitative, data science approach to asset management,”explain the founders of Raptor Maps, Edward Obropta and Nikhil Vadhavkar.

“When you take a drone and you attach a thermal camera to it, you can actually collect very interesting thermal imagery of our photovoltaic plans and show exactly where faults and anomalies might be. It saves us money and an enormous amount of time”, adds Sander Cohan, Director of innovation of Enel Green Power in North America.

Our successful partnership, which started in 2016, has involved scaling drones, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, analytics and thermal data in order to increase solar production. This month we are taking things to the next level, where all of Enel Green Power solar assets worldwide will be able to use this innovative technology. By combining our drone technology with Raptor Maps cutting-edge software, we’ve achieved a dramatic increase in our solar operational efficiency. We have succeeded in creating an unparalleled operational and maintenance process. 


A truly profitable collaboration that looks into the future

“Enel Green Power understands the value of experimenting with different data collection protocols and workflows, and also of working with an innovative partner like Raptor Maps to design the right solution,” say Obropta and Vadhavkar. “Raptor Maps has been a great partner. We’ve really grown from the ground up together”, confirms Keith Aubin, GIS Manager at Enel Green Power North America. 

Opportunities don’t come knocking at your door. You have to look for them, and Raptor Maps has never stopped searching. This year, the company was at InterDrone in Las Vegas, Solar Asset Management Australia in Sydney, and Solar Power Texas in EEUU, among others. They will also be exhibiting their tech solutions at the upcoming Solar Power International conference in Utah.

“Innovation does not, and should not, occur in a vacuum,” say the company’s staff, and we couldn’t agree more. That’s why “innovation has to be done in collaboration with end users in order to build a system that organisations need. Working with Enel shortens the cycle for building, testing, and iterating new ideas; and the group is in an ideal position to leverage this technology across the globe,” add the cofounders.

Drone technology is going to change our business quite dramatically. Indeed, one of our Enel Innovation Communities is focused on drones and we work with different startups related with this. As Keith Aubin says: “We are just getting started.” Working with Raptor Maps is helping us take a big step forward.