Learn how to use Dronelink for solar farm inspections. Key features include:
- Maintain aircraft heading between panel rows (crab-walk mode)
- Adjust gimbal angle and align mission in the field
- DJI M3E and M30 Support
- DJI M300RTK + H20T and M2EA Support
3D Preview Showing Solar Mission Behavior
- Get started quickly with the solar farm inspection mission template
- Learn how to adjust the mission flight path, altitude, adjust image overlap and row spacing
- Watch Mission Planning Demo Video
- In-field Mission Alignment using Adaptive Flight Offsets
- Shift the entire mission in the field to capture the right data
- Manual Gimbal Pitch Control
- Adjust the gimbal pitch and combine with offsets to avoid panel glare
Note: A Growth Plan is required to access these features.
Mission Planning with the Solar Inspection Template
Step 1 - Select Create and the Solar Mission Template
Select the Create button, and Select the Solar Inspection Mission Template
Step 2 - Place the Mission Reference Pin
Use the map, or search to navigate to your solar farm and place the Purple Mission Reference Point Pin at any desired location, you can move it later.
Step 3 - Adjust Boundary Points - Manually or Upload a Boundary KML
You can either manually drag the boundary points, and create new ones by selecting the "+" icon on the boundary path, or you can upload a KML, which is much faster for large sites.
Select the Import Boundary Points button and select a KML file defining the boundary.
Step 4 - Open Map Component Settings
Select the Map Component to open the Menu, and Expand the menu to open all the settings.
You can also provide the map component a new name here.
Step 5 - Set Camera and Desired Side Photo Overlap
Switch to Camera Overlaps in the Spacing Menu
Select the Payload you intend to use.
This is important in order to set the correct overlap between photos along a panel row.
See Setting Camera Specs During Mission Planning for more details.
Set the Front Overlap to the desired photo overlap along a single row of panels. The Side Overlap will be set later based on the distance between panel rows.
Step 6 - Adjust the Path Direction
The flight path is currently set to North / South; however a small adjustment is required. Adjust the Direction so that the flight path runs parallel to the solar panel rows.
Step 7 - Set the Distance Between Rows
Switch back to Distance Spacing, in order to set the Distance between rows.
This may require a few adjustments to get perfect. Zoom in to the map to check for the correct solar farm coverage. The Front Distance will be set based on previous settings.
Step 8 - Adjust Altitude and Starting Gimbal Pitch
Set desired altitude. The flight path will not change since we are planning using distance spacing.
Set the starting gimbal pitch; it is possible to adjust during flight as we will see later.
Step 9 - Move Mission Reference Pin
The purple mission reference pin can be used to align a mission based on a known physical reference point. Offsets can also be applied during the mission to further align the flight path.
Let's move the mission reference to the bottom right panel. We will fly the drone over this location later to align the mission.
Right click the map at the desired location, and Select Move Reference
Select Move Reference Only
Purple pin at new location
Step 10 - Move Approach Destination Pin
The green approach pin is the location of the first map leg, move this to the desired starting point, often at the mission reference point, and the location of the first row.
This does not need to be perfect, as it will be possible to align the mission before and during flight and this depends on the camera angle.
Step 11 - Mission Preview and Estimate
Preview the mission and review the estimate to understand the mission length, number of photos, and batteries needed. Learn more in our Quick Start Series.
Watch How to Mission Plan a Large Solar Farm
Flying a Solar Farm Mission and Making In-Field Adjustments
This section covers key information and linked articles to successfully align and fly a solar farm mission:
- Mission Alignment with Adaptive Flight Drone Offsets
- Manual Gimbal Pitch Adjustments
- Getting Started Video: Running a simple map mission and app basics - View full article here
- How to download a mission in the mobile app for offline use
Mission Alignment Using Reference Point Position
Use the 'Mission Reference Position Alignment' button highlighted below, to shift the entire mission plan to better align with the solar panel rows.
During mission planning, we moved the mission reference to the solar panel on the bottom right of the solar farm to align with the first row of panels.
In the field, we will fly over this location, set our desired gimbal pitch, and click the position alignment button to shift the first flight path leg to align with the panels and framing we want.
Mission Alignment Using Position Offsets
Use the 'position offset buttons' to move the entire mission plan during flight. Adjust the flight paths by selecting the directional buttons.
As you start flying the first path, if alignment is not correct, you can shift the entire mission with the offsets, and adjust the gimbal angle as described below.
Adjusting the Gimbal Pitch Manually
Adjust the gimbal pitch during autonomous missions, and combine with offsets to achieve the correct framing for any time of day to avoid panel glare.
Simply use the gimbal wheel during flight to make changes.
The last saved gimbal angle will be used when resuming a mission due to a battery swap or pausing a mission.