Deep learning strategies for automatic fault diagnosis in photovoltaic systems by thermographic images

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Losses of electricity production in photovoltaic systems are mainly caused by the presence of faults that affect the efficiency of the systems. The identification of any overheating in a photovoltaic module, through the thermographic non-destructive test, may be essential to maintain the correct functioning of the photovoltaic system quickly and cost-effectively, without interrupting its normal operation. This work proposes a system for the automatic classification of thermographic images using a convolutional neural network, developed via open-source libraries. To reduce image noise, various pre-processing strategies were evaluated, including normalization and homogenization of pixels, greyscaling, thresholding, discrete wavelet transform, and Sobel Feldman and box blur filtering. These techniques allow the classification of thermographic images of differen quality and acquired using different equipments, without specific protocols. Several tests with different parameters and overfitting reduction techniques were carried out to assess the performance of the neural networks: images acquired by unmanned aerial vehicles and ground-based operators were compared for the network performance and for the time required to execute the thermographic inspection. Our tool is based on a convolutional neural network that allows to immediately recognize a failure in a PV panel reaching a very high accuracy. Considering a dataset of 1000 images that refer to different acquisition protocols, it was reached an accuracy of 99% for a convolutional neural network with 30 min of computational time on Low Mid-Range CPU. While a dataset of 200 sectioned images, the same tool achieved 90% accuracy with a multi-layer perceptron architecture and 100% accuracy for a convolutional neural network. The proposed methodology offers an open alternative and a valid tool that improves the resolution of image classification for remote failure detection problems and that can be used in any scientific sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114315-
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Volume241
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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