Photovoltaic energy is one of the most relevant renewable energy due to its fast growth in the last years. The sizes of the solar panels and the solar power plants are also increasing. Therefore, the modern solar plants require new maintenance techniques that ensure the efficiency and rentability. In this field, condition monitoring systems play an essential role because they can increase the reliability, reduce cost and, therefore, improve the operation of the solar plant. The goal of the paper awarded was to develop a new monitoring system composed of an unmanned aerial vehicle fitted with a thermal camera. This paper studied the capability of the system to detect defects in the solar panels or external factors that affect to the optimal operation. Firstly, the system was tested in an experimental platform under controlled conditions and, then, some experiments in a real solar plant are carried out. The data provided by the system was analyzed and converted into useful information of the state of the panels. It was demonstrated that this system can detect some specific failures and elements that affect the normal condition of the panels.

This work has been performed during the development of the SCARAB project. The objective of the SCARAB project, funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2013-2016, is to develop new intelligent tools on board unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the optimization of aerial inspection of solar photovoltaic plants, increasing the control and analysis of this type of facilities. This project is motivated by the annual growth of photovoltaic solar energy, thanks to the increase in productivity and the increase in the size of solar parks.


The prize was given to the group in Melbourne, Australia, on 1st of august 2018 at the 12th International Conference on Management Science and Engineering Management (2018 ICMSEM), hold on August 1-4, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. It is the annual conference organized and supported by the International Society of Management Science and Engineering Management (ISMSEM), Sichuan University, Monash University.

The conference is to foster international research collaborations in Management Science and Engineering Management as well as to provide a forum for presenting current research work in the forms of technical sessions.

Since 2007, the International Society of Management Science and Engineering Management (ISMSEM) has organized the ICMSEM. Last three conferences took place in Lisbon, Portugal (2014, ICMSEM) , Karlsruhe, Germany (2015, ICMSEM), Baku, Azerbaijan (2016, ICMSEM) and Kanazawa, Japan (2017, ICMSEM). Leading scientists in many research areas came from all over the world to participate in ICMSEM. According to their agreement with Springer, the accepted papers of each conference have been gathered in proceedings and published on Springer. ICMSEM aims to bring together researchers, scientists, engineers, and scholars to exchange and share their experiences, new ideas, and research results about all aspects of management science and engineering management, and to discuss the practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted.