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Inspection of street lighting and solar panels with drones

Águas e Energia do Porto

Águas e Energia do Porto (AEdP), is a municipal utility with administrative and financial autonomy, created in October 2006, whose capital is held, in its entirety, by the Municipality of Porto. This utility has as main responsibilities the integrated and sustainable management of the urban water cycle. Nevertheless, since 2021, this utility, with more than 500 employees, has, among others, responsibilities in the Energy sector, being responsible for the definition and implementation of the municipal energy strategy, as well as for the provision of comprehensive and specialized services to the people of Porto. Such as: i) monitoring and management of energy use in municipal equipment and public lighting infrastructures; (ii) construction, operation and maintenance of renewable energy production facilities for self-consumption. In 2022, the amount of the company’s expenditure on innovation was approximately 383 730 euros and the value of turnover in the corresponding period was approximately 25 426 454 euros.


Photovoltaic installation inspections:

Águas e Energia do Porto (AEdP) is responsible for about 53 photovoltaic installations in the municipality of Porto, with a total installed power of approximately 1900kWp, distributed by the 7 parishes of the municipality, with prospects for growth in the coming years. Typically, the facilities have areas between 250m2 and 1500m2 and are placed on building roofs. Therefore, AEdP needs to make periodic technical inspections of the solar panels of the various photovoltaic installations of the city to be able to assess their state of conservation and operation, namely dirt, hot spots, defective modules and shade zones. And also, to survey the coverage areas for sizing and design of new photovoltaic installations. Currently, with regard to photovoltaic installations, measuring the areas and checking their state of conservation are done through traditional methods and through in-loco and in-person visual inspections. Figure 1 shows some of the existing PV installations (under AEdP responsibility) in the city of Porto.


Public lighting inspection:

In addition, as the entity responsible for the operation and maintenance of public lighting, namely scenic lighting and green spaces (Figure 1), AEdP needs to assess its luminotechnical quality and to identify areas with lighting failure. In the municipality of Porto there are about 4000 luminaires installed in the city and distributed by approximately 190 locations. Hence, as previously referred, it is essential to evaluate its luminotechnical quality (i.e., to know if the amount of lighting is sufficient for the inhabitants) and to identify the areas of lighting failure (malfunctions, cast lamps, circuits turned off) to provide an effective and efficient service in solving the problems of public lighting that affect citizens. Currently, in the lighting of public spaces, the breakdowns and the detection of disconnected light points is done through complaints from citizens and during maintenance rounds carried out by the technical team on the ground. For this, it is necessary that the technicians travel with vehicles to the sites on a recurring basis. Figure 2 shows the distribution of the existing lighting in the city.

It is possible to notice that this project has an impact for all the inhabitants, visitors and tourists of the city of Porto, so that they can enjoy a city with “green” energy and with good public lighting. It should be noted that the number of inhabitants of the city is about 232 000, and more than 2.3 million people visit the city annually. Our goal is to make the provision of services more efficient and improve the quality of life of the inhabitants, using advanced technological means and thus also reducing the carbon footprint associated with our operations.


This Challenge is not eligible for the InnoBuyer programme co-creation phase.