Keeping the World’s Largest Single Site Solar Plant Construction on Schedule Using Drones

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Keeping the World’s Largest Single Site Solar Plant Construction on Schedule Using Drones

Noor Abu Dhabi, located in Sweihan, covers an area of 8km2 and features 3.2 million solar panels. As part of UAE's Energy Strategy 2050, Noor Abu Dhabi was the first significant pipeline of the project reducing Abu Dhabi's CO2 emissions by one million tonnes; the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road. Ensuring this project goes smoothly was imperative; it would mark this major milestone as a resounding success.

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Managing a construction project is an incredibly challenging but essential task. Without efficient management of a construction site, all operations can fall to disarray, causing delays in completion and complications in terms of reworks. A useful tool to stay on top of your construction project is Progress Monitoring. The Project Manager can use the data provided by Progress Monitoring to track the site progress, oversee the subcontractors and keep the stakeholders informed. The sheer amount of coordination required for this is daunting.

There is a clear need for greater visibility and a tool that can provide the necessary data as quickly and accurately as possible. The traditional methods of Progress Monitoring are tedious and ineffective. We know this because of the report published by KPMG- Over the last three years, only 25% of projects were able to complete within 10% of the original deadline. That is a staggeringly low number of projects that finished on the set deadline. Drone Technology has the power to transform your day-to-day workflow and provide visibility like never before.

Drones provide you with precise Aerial photos and Orthomaps; these accurate captures from the drones will enable you to track the progress of your site easily and detect any deviations. You can also generate 3D reality captures, giving you unparalleled visibility into your project. The data acquired from drones can easily be integrated into cloud infrastructures further enabling you to collaborate seamlessly.

Drone data is so accurate that your engineers could inspect and survey the site without ever having to be on site. One of the main benefits you gain from the use of drones is the ready availability of the data. It eliminates the need for manual surveys and the long meetings that go along with it, saving you a lot of time and energy. Once the drone captures the data, it is then processed and sent to you overnight. Using drone data, you can also cut down on your reworks costs, by overlaying your blueprint on the orthomap you can get an accurate comparison of your project As-Built vs As-Designed. Drones empower you with the ability to identify and take action before issues can even arise.

How Drones Help Speed Up the Construction of The World's Largest Solar Plant

Given the size of the project, multiple contractors working on tight deadlines in the same site, would make coordinating and obtaining sufficient data difficult. Due to the size and the complicity of the project, traditional Progress Monitoring methods would simply be ineffective and inefficient. Aggregating data from all the different areas would take a substantially large amount of time, making the final report's relevancy invalid. Drone Technology was the solution in this situation, the speed and accuracy of the drones was just what was needed.
Team FEDS conducted monthly flights to capture the progress of the construction. We achieved a 5 cm GSD and Horizontal accuracy of 7 cm.


Sterling Wilson commissioned FEDS to track and monitor monthly progress via accurate and high-resolution drone mapping, videos, and images. The drones could cover the entire site in a day, and produce actionable data by the following day. Project managers could then use accurate data to gain in-depth knowledge over the construction's progress. Enabling them to spend more time on making decisions and keeping the construction to schedule and less time on the actual report making process. The data supplied could also be used to calculate the quantities of materials on-site, enabling them to efficiently evaluate stockpiles and keep track of their inventory.

Team FEDS conducted monthly flights to capture the progress of the construction. We achieved a GSD (Ground Sampling Distance) of 5 cm, Vertical accuracy of 7 cm and Horizontal accuracy of 7 cm. Throughout the entire mission 105,000 high-resolution images were captured which were used to make seventeen Orthomosaic maps that were accurate up to 5 cm.



Without the use of drones, it would have been incredibly challenging to gather actionable data in time. Drones enabled Sterling Wilson with Aerial Data, Cloud Reporting, Time Preservation, and Full Historical Data. Using this, they were able to reduce costs, streamline operations and ensure the project was completed on schedule and within budget.

FEDS is the first and leading DaaS provider in the Middle East and together with Aerodyne Group, we are now the largest drone company in the world. We have the biggest drone fleet in the MENA region enabling us to map massive sites quickly and efficiently. Our drone fleet backed up by teams of industry experts are at your disposal.

Feel free to get in touch with us to see how drones can improve your construction projects.

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Niiveth Mani

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