Solar Panel Inspections in Hammer – sUAS Information


hammer is an adaptive flight automation platform for drone surveys and inspections. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets Hammer app and desktop environments Hammer stroke.

Regardless of the mission, Hammer can adapt and help you gather the best possible data.


In this tutorial, we will focus on solar inspections – one of the many inspection missions supported by Hammer. If you’d prefer to watch a video tutorial instead, here’s one:

Solar inspection

This type of inspection is useful for aiming your drone directly at solar panels and inspecting and analyzing them more closely with a visual or thermal camera.

In this mission, Hammer generates a flight plan based on the polygon (surface boundary) entered by the pilot and the points (rows of solar panels). Hammer then calculates a flight path to make sure the airways pass through the marked rows of suns. Hammer also gives you options to configure the drone’s orientation, row angle, and other settings for the mission.

You can think of this as a regular grid mission with additional options for marking and configuring rows and settings of solar panels.

Steps to create

  1. Tap the new mission file icon to create a new mission file. Rename the file.
  2. Tap the Add (+) button in the right side panel.
  3. Select “Solar Inspection” from the available missions.
  4. Draw a polygon to mark the solar park area to be inspected.
  5. Tap OK.

Marking of the range limit for solar inspections

Steps to Configure

  1. Tap on white gear icon on mission You want to configure.
  2. This will open a settings menu.
  3. Tap on Mark solar panels Button.
  4. Hammer asks you to mark the rows of solar panels. Tap the map to mark the solar rows. Add as many lines as you want. Then tap OK.
  5. Hammer creates airways that pass through the marked points.

Adding solar panels to the solar mission

Note: Solar panels can also be marked on the map by manually flying the drone in the field and pointing it at relevant solar panels with a hammer Fly-to-draw Functions.

6. Now configure the remaining settings in the menu – all settings relevant for the inspection of solar modules:

Brief description of the available settings:

Camera type: The camera to be attached to the drone for inspection. Hammer uses the focal length and field of view of this camera to estimate the image / video footprint on the ground.

Front overlap: The percentage of overlap between images from the solar panels.

Line angle: The angle of the airlines. By default, this is set to 0 (northeast) which is aligned with the rows of solar panels.

Drone orientation: The orientation of the drone between airlines. Alignment is useful to reduce glare from the sun during inspection. This orientation is indicated on the map by the arrow at the top of the solar panel markers.

Gimbal Tilt: The tilt / tilt of the drone’s gimbal. By default this is set to -90 ‘degrees but can be adjusted to accommodate the slope of the panels. Record a video: This ensures that the drone will record videos during the mission rather than taking pictures with certain overlaps.

Return route: This will start the drone mission from the other end. This is useful for scenarios where you want the inspection to begin closer to the start location.

Terrain awareness: This adds terrain awareness to the trajectory. For more information on terrain detection options, see our Terrain Tracking Guide.

Steps to simulate

  1. When you’re done creating and configuring the mission, just hit the play button in the right pane.
  2. If a drone is not connected, Hammer will ask you to add a simulator, hit OK, and choose a home location for the simulation. Then press OK.
  3. The simulation will begin and you will see a simulated drone on the screen flying the solar inspection mission.

Steps to fly

  1. When you are satisfied with the mission you have created, simply connect your drone to Hammer using the remote control’s USB port.
  2. A drone symbol is displayed at the current position on the screen.
  3. Press play to start the mission.
  4. Press pause at any time to pause the mission and play to continue the mission.


And that’s it! Now you know how to create, simulate, and fly your own sun inspection mission in Hammer. If you do not currently have access to the iOS app, you can contact us via or download the app from the App Store.

If you would like to learn more about other missions supported in Hammer, please visit our mission tutorials.

To learn more about ours Business solutions, including mission collaboration, flight analysis and more, please contact us at [email protected]

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