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Nowadays solar energy is being used in three different directions which are photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling, and concentrating solar power. The solar energy sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and the percentage of solar installations is increasing day by day. Depending on the deployment location and competing energy prices, photovoltaic solar panels are among the most cost-effective power solutions being added to the grid today. But despite the massive increase in solar energy, along with it are growing challenges that in most cases are unexpected.

The biggest challenge that solar energy is facing, is its unavailability throughout the year, coupled with its high cost of capital and lack of materials. In addition, the installation of solar panels requires specialized workers. Moreover, the photovoltaic pumping systems are often exposed to problems of maintenance and control. There are still many obstacles that can be prevented by adopting new and innovative technologies. One of these technologies is Augmented Reality, which is integrating rapidly as part of many sectors.

Augmented Reality is finding numerous applications in the complex tasks of installing and maintaining photovoltaic solar systems. Also, since this sector needs a specialized workforce, its lack of causes delays in installations or in performing tasks within the right time. Augmented reality allows remote experts to provide real-time guidance as well as add a virtual object on top of the real-world image and display it on the device of technicians currently in the solar farm.

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The technician may interact with the virtual world and have additional information that is not directly accessible in the work environment due to the distance where photovoltaic solar systems may be located. Information obtained from technicians can be various instructions for maintenance tasks or even data in the form of texts, images, or 3D objects.

As solar farms are located far from inhabited centers these are areas that are difficult to reach in case of encountering unexpected problems. Sending experts to these areas leads to process delays but also affects monetary costs. Maintenance of solar systems is another challenge that directly affects the efficiency of production. Exposure to human error and lack of properly trained staff affects the costs. Now, through Augmented Reality, the collaboration between specialized experts and solar farm technicians consists of immediately providing the information needed to solve problems safely and efficiently. This information that is provided directly in the work environment is very valuable in critical situations and the integration of it in smart glasses gives the solar farm technicians the opportunity to work with their hands-free.

The peculiarity of augmented reality is that in addition to the remote support it offers in real-time, it is also used for training purposes that the field workforce may need. This type of training brings additional information to the workforce making it more qualified to face unexpected tasks and problems in the future. Using Augmented Reality, technician’s training becomes quite essential saving companies thousands of money on expensive training.

In conclusion, Augmented Reality as one of the most promising technologies improves maintenance efficiency, reduces desired costs, and human errors. Augmented Reality is taking a big turn and bringing new values ​​to the solar energy sector making workflows more safer and efficient and workers more productive.

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AR REMOTE ASSISTANCE FOR SOLAR SYSTEMS MAINTENANCE was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Author: Linda Malecaj

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