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A Multi-Stage model based on YOLOv3 for defect detection in PV panels based on IR and Visible Imaging by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

by   Antonio Di Tommaso, et al.

As solar capacity installed worldwide continues to grow, there is an increasing awareness that advanced inspection systems are becoming of utmost importance to schedule smart interventions and minimize downtime likelihood. In this work we propose a novel automatic multi-stage model to detect panel defects on aerial images captured by unmanned aerial vehicle by using the YOLOv3 network and Computer Vision techniques. The model combines detections of panels and defects to refine its accuracy. The main novelties are represented by its versatility to process either thermographic or visible images and detect a large variety of defects and its portability to both rooftop and ground-mounted PV systems and different panel types. The proposed model has been validated on two big PV plants in the south of Italy with an outstanding AP@0.5 exceeding 98 roughly 88.3 mAP@0.5 of almost 70 including panel shading induced by soiling and bird dropping, delamination, presence of puddles and raised rooftop panels. An estimation of the soiling coverage is also predicted. Finally an analysis of the influence of the different YOLOv3's output scales on the detection is discussed.


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