TeleEye’s place in the sun

April 2014 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

South Africa is destined to make solar energy flourish in the years to come. The warm, dry climate, as well as the country’s geographical vastness, makes it ideal for the development of solar farms. In its 20-year plan for renewable energy, the South African government aims to achieve energy production consisting of 8400 MW wind power, 8400 MW solar power and 100 MW concentrating solar power energies. Ambitious goals, which have been set to meet the country’s ever increasing demand for power.

Late 2012, Tenesol, a SunPower company, announced the construction of two ground-mounted solar power projects totalling 33 megawatts (MW). Both projects are located near Douglas, in the Northern Cape Province.

TeleEye South Africa has been a strategic distributor of FLIR thermal cameras since 2010.

For the two solar plants, TeleEye, along with system integration partner, Stallion Security, provided Tenesol with a complete perimeter surveillance solution, including thermal cameras, video analytics and alarm management. The two solar plants have perimeters of 5 and 8 km, and have been secured with electric fencing and thermal imaging cameras from FLIR Systems. TeleEye video analytics seamlessly integrates with the FLIR thermal imaging security cameras and is able to generate a wide range of alerts for intrusion detection applications.

Robust technology

Philip Smerkovitz, managing director at TeleEye South Africa, explains, “Next to the very accurate optics and image quality we get from FLIR technology, the robustness of these cameras is beyond compare. This is no luxury, because the harsh temperatures that these cameras need to withstand almost every day is enormous. FLIR’s experience of mission-critical systems is invaluable here, because the company has years of built-up expertise in the development of robust technology, which can stand extreme environments and extreme heat.”

FLIR thermal cameras allow you to see day and night. So, without any additional lighting, it is possible to detect intruders approaching the perimeter at night. “But equally important for this project was the ability to see in bright sunlight conditions,” comments Philip Smerkovitz. “Sunlight can obviously be very bright in the Karoo Desert. Thermal cameras are not hampered by that at all, and provide a clear image even if they are directed towards the sun.”

Glare from the sun – whether it’s shining directly into the camera or reflecting off wet roads – blinds conventional video cameras, effectively hiding vehicles, people and animals. Since thermal cameras need no light to operate, they ignore this glare, and only respond to the heat signatures they detect.


In comparison to traditional video cameras, thermal imaging cameras can cover a larger viewing distance, which means that fewer cameras are needed to efficiently monitor the perimeter. In addition, with thermal cameras, there’s no need to invest or to maintain expensive lighting infrastructure. For the two solar parks near Douglas, 5 and 11 cameras were installed for the 5 and 8 km perimeter respectively. TeleEye used different configurations of the SR series, with different lenses in order to efficiently monitor the odd shaped perimeter.

TeleEye was responsible for the specification of the surveillance project, including the definition of the camera technology, video analytics and alarm management. In order to calculate the correct camera viewing distances, TeleEye used FLIR Raven software, the thermal security site planning tool. With FLIR Raven, you can conveniently display both range and location for each camera specified. The software shows you the area of detection coverage, allowing you to plan which cameras you need to have installed and where.

Features incorporated in the FLIR SR-Series are:

* Different detector configurations available: 640x480, 320x240 or 160x120 pixels.

* Wide variety of optics.

* Digital Detail Enhancement (DDE).

* Rugged housing (IP66).

* Easy integration: serial control and analogue composite video output.


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