Energy group turns to thermal cameras to protect solar panels

Chertsey, Surrey (UK) and Budpest, Hungary

When they national energy group, MVM and its security team needed a way to protect its high-value photovoltaic assets while adhering to GDPR and protecting personal privacy, it turned to Hanwha Vision for its thermal technology. Over 100 thermal cameras were installed along with PTZ cameras with a handover function. 

MVM is a nationally-owned energy group with a mission to provide affordable and clean energy. Its portfolio covers the total domestic energy system in Hungary, where it is the dominant electricity wholesale trader; and it also operates in Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, and other parts of Europe. It is actively increasing its presence in regional markets, as well as expanding into areas of sustainable energy including solar power, hydropower, and natural nuclear. Electricity generation by the MVM Group is already about 83% carbon neutral.

Protecting the privacy of neighbouring residents

MVM had 14 photovoltaic power plants that needed to be protected in high-residential areas while protecting the privacy of neighbouring residents. Because of their locations, these sites were at high risk of vandalism, trespass, and theft of equipment. Also due to the adjacent residential settings, traditional security technology such as fence detection and outdoor visual CCTV could not be used.

“Hanwha Vision has a very balanced product line with good features and reasonable pricing,” explained Tamás Tánczos, Security Engineering at MVM, “It was a natural choice when we realised that on these sites we couldn’t use fence protection, infrared, or microwaves to detect intruders. With the thermal cameras, we could rest assured that no personal data would be gathered.”

Intelligent video analytics

The thermal cameras help MVM protect its photovoltaic sites without compromising neighbouring residents’ privacy. The cameras used, TNO-4030T, TNO-4040T and TNO-4050T, come equipped with Motion detection, Handover, Tampering, Loitering, Directional detection, and Audio detection features built-in to boost operators’ situational awareness. The TNO-4040T and TNO-4050T can additionally detect changes in temperature, such as a potential fire, and shock detection, which could indicate displacement or hard blows to the device.

While the camera is constantly scanning for potential intrusion and motion detection, operators can continue to work on other activities with alerts issued for any events that need their response. This makes the system more intelligent and efficient compared to traditional fence detection or basic CCTV cameras.

Because the cameras work through thermal imaging, they are not affected by low light levels or visibility, so inclement weather doesn’t impact their effectiveness. Operators consistently receive good images and resolutions no matter the environmental conditions.

Further expansion planned

The project initially involved 14 sites but as the effectiveness and benefits of the Wisenet cameras are proven, this is now expanding to other sites in MVM’s portfolio. The team is also considering adding thermal cameras with built-in AI due to launch soon.


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