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Investment for thermal imaging

A Spanish security installer has worked on 20 solar parks across Spain and neighbouring countries; Portugal, France and Italy. The company always tries to convince its customers to install thermal imaging cameras for perimeter protection, as for a solar park in Sebis, near Arad in Romania.

Sevilla-based Omega Seguridad installed 22 thermal imaging cameras to cover the perimeter in case of vandalism, sabotage or terrorism.. The new park is Romania’s largest and one of the largest in Europe. The park, developed by Bester Generación, stretches across 200 hectares and includes some 72,000 photovoltaic panels, amounting to 15 MW of power. The new solar park is said to provide the energy for around 100,000 people. The total perimeter, including two separate confined areas of about 2.1km can be covered with a total of 22 cameras. On average, this amounts to about one thermal camera each 190m. Omega relied on FLIR’s SR-Series thermal imaging in cameras. The SR-313 with 35 mm lens and 320 x 240 resolution; and the SR-324 with 19 mm lens and 320 x 240 resolution, were used. The makers say that the cameras provide high contrast imagery to get the most out of video analytics software. In this case, video analytics was provided by Spanish company Davantis.

Omega Seguridad usually offers two options for perimeter protection to its customers: CCTV cameras and thermal imaging cameras. Although traditional CCTV systems are effective the installer says for security applications, they are not able to see in total darkness. As a result, they have to have extra lighting.

Antonio Millán Fernández, Project Manager at Omega Seguridad, says his company always makes an extra effort to convince the customer to choose thermal imaging: “Thermal cameras can see much farther than traditional CCTV cameras and therefore you need less of them. So in short- less cameras, less issues.”

Although a thermal camera is still more expensive, the investment cost will still be lower, as fewer cameras are needed at the perimeter, the installer says. Fewer cameras also mean that there will be less to spend on camera-related equipment to ensure the camera operates efficiently and to transmit the video signal to the control room.

By reducing the number of cameras required, thermal imaging allows customers to make savings with the camera-related equipment and civil works. Thermal imaging cameras need no lighting and will operate with the same accuracy night and day. Last but not least, Omega calculated that the overall power consumption of a project with traditional CCTV systems is about 50 per cent higher than the power consumption of a project with thermal cameras.: a saving on the electricity bill of the user.

Enrique Delgado Torres, Engineer and Project Manager at Omega Seguridad, says: “For distances of between 60 and 120 meters two conventional cameras would be required, but only one thermal camera The cost of equipment involved on both systems would be equivalent. For distances between 120 and 180 meters where three conventional cameras would be required, the equipment associated with the thermal system becomes more economical. Longer distances make the advantage bigger.”

And Vicente Nanclares Ocio, Director -Engineering Department, says: “The more bends and curves a perimeter has, the more camera positions you will need to have a sufficiently good view. Luckily for us, solar parks generally tend to follow straight lines, so this allows thermal cameras to see even farther than 180 meters.”

Omega adds that thermal cameras also have a higher accuracy and generate fewer false alarms, which results in less frustration and less work for the control room operator.

Vicente Nanclares Ocio says: “Obviously, we no longer experience light-related false alarms. Sometimes, car headlights can set off false alarms, but since thermal cameras are unaffected by light, they are also not disturbed by it. Thermal cameras also allow us to see better through fog. Sometimes, the fog can be so dense that traditional CCTV cameras are unable to see through it.”

For more information about thermal imaging cameras or about this application contact:

FLIR Commercial Systems B.V.
Luxemburgstraat 2
2321 Meer
Belgium
Tel. : +32 (0) 3665 5100
e-mail : flir@flir.com


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