Services Provided: Utility Companies

We Provided Services to Utility Companies


With far-flung facilities, often in settings with rough terrain and other difficult conditions, companies in the energy and utility industries face serious challenges as they inspect, monitor and maintain their assets. As unmanned aircraft systems (UASs, or drones) have become more sophisticated and reliable, they have emerged to offer valuable capabilities that can help energy and utility companies.

By taking dangerous tasks out of the hands of humans, drones can greatly improve safety. Further, capabilities such as powerful cameras and other sensors enable drones to do many jobs more quickly, accurately and efficiently than human workers.

Here’s how energy companies and utilities are benefiting from drone technology.

Improve the Safety of Inspections by Avoiding Dangerous Conditions

Utility workers often face hazards when conducting inspections, including heights, proximity to high voltage and inclement weather. Some assets, such as wind turbines, are particularly dangerous for human inspectors. “The utilization of drones helps keep workers away from private property, aggressive dogs, volatile homeowners or areas that are not adequately maintained,” the online energy marketplace provider Choose Energy notes in a recent article about UAS technology.

DJI, a manufacturer of UAS systems, says its drones can take high-resolution images and shoot 4K video, which helps inspectors spot areas that may need to be repaired, such as cracks or fissures. Further, some of the company’s drones come with advanced sense and avoid technologies, which can prevent collisions in situations with sudden gusts of wind or pilot error.

Rev Up Operations with Speedy Drones

Because drones can quickly make their way from place to place through the air, they can dramatically speed up inspection and monitoring tasks. “Drones are 97 percent more efficient than manual inspections for solar farms,” Carmen Smith, vice president of marketing at the aerial intelligence company Measure, tells Choose Energy. They avoid having workers trek across many acres of solar panels or climb onto roofs, and they complete a detailed inspection of 100 percent of panels in a fraction of the time.

Reduce Labor Costs by Boosting Efficiency

Because human workers take so much longer than drones to complete inspection and monitoring work, the use of unmanned systems can help to cut down the labor costs associated with these tasks. For example, a 2018 article in Drone Examiner notes that a drone can replace the need for staffers who would otherwise have to walk around oil and gas wells with infrared cameras in search of leaks.

Drone manufacturer Yuneec says its drones are capable of inspecting more than 4,000 photo-voltaic panels per hour. By comparison, the average for inspection conducted by a human is roughly 60 panels per hour — meaning a person would take about eight days to complete a task that a drone can do in an hour.

Survey Potential Sites

According to Drone Examiner, an Oregon utility is using drones to survey potential locations for new solar energy infrastructure. The drones map the area’s topography and use algorithms to find the best place for each solar panel. The process takes 90 percent less time than traditional surveying and design.

FAA Drone Registration

This blogpost will clearly explain the process of how to register your drone with the Federal Aviation Association. The FAA has actually made the process of registering drone a rather smooth and simple process.

Why is Drone Registration Necessary?

Plain and simple the FAA wants drones registered to increase the safety of people both in the air and on the ground. With more than 1 million drones registered with the FAA they have their hands full trying to keep people safe.

“Registration is all about safety,” says FAA spokesperson Jim Peters. “It provides us with a key opportunity to educate the new generation of airspace users that as soon as they start flying outside, they’re pilots. There are safety implications to how they fly, and there are rules and regulations they must follow. When necessary, registration will help us track down people who operate unsafely.”

Drone Pilots Will be Held Accountable for their Actions

There are countless examples of people flying their drones dangerously close to other aircraft and restricted areas. Drones have interfered with:

  • Commercial airplanes,
  • Planes and helicopters in the process of fighting wildfires.
  • One drone even landed on the lawn of the White House.

The FAA sees the registration process as an important stepping-stone to a clear, long-term policy making drones safer for everyone.

What are the Penalties for NOT Registering a Drone? 

It’s difficult for the FAA to enforce these penalties but the fines are steep. 

  • Civil penalties can reach $27,500!
  • Criminal penalties can cost you as much as $250,000 and three years in prison!

Who Needs to Register their Drone?

Registering once gives recreational pilots a registration number, akin to a driver’s license number. The recreation drone registration number applies to any drone that you may own and is good for three years. After the registration number expires then you will simply go through the registration process again.

When you buy another drone you’re not required to go through the registration process again because the registration number is for the person and not the drone itself. 

Who is NOT required to Register their Drone?

  • If your drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds.
  • If you’re only going to fly your drone indoors.
  • If your drone weighs more than 55 pounds you’ll go through a different registration process.
  • If you’re using your drone for commercial purposes—which means you’re using your drone to make money then you need to go through a different more cumbersome registration process.

How to Register Your Drone

You’ll register your drone through the FAA’s website at The FAA website makes the registration process very simple.

You’ll also get a registration certificate emailed to you, which you’ll need to print out (or keep handy on your mobile device) and have with you when flying. Once your drone is officially registered you are cleared for takeoff!

Placing the Registration no. on the Drone

You must then place the registration number on the Exterior of your Drone. It must be visible on the exterior of the drone without having to remove any parts to view the registration number.

If you have questions about FAA registration compliance then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or send us a message HERE.