Economic Evaluation of Maintenance Strategies for Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Plants
FCN Working Paper No. 08/2016
59 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2016
Date Written: August 2016
In this paper we present a generic model which evaluates the economic viability of alternative maintenance strategies for differently sized photovoltaic plants with variable components. We thoroughly review the existing literature on reliability, maintenance and maintenance strategies for PV plants. The model is applied to ground-mounted solar PV plants of three different sizes: 1, 10, and 100 MWp. The analysis compares immediate corrective maintenance with maintenance strategies of different periodicity (weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly). Simulations take the driving time of the service team and the operation of a spare parts inventory into account. We further analyze the impact of hourly spot prices in contrast to constant prices (feed-in tariffs). We find that corrective maintenance is the most cost-effective strategy. If the service journey takes six hours instead of one hour, corrective maintenance becomes more expensive than weekly periodic maintenance. For a three-hour journey, the size of the PV plant matters. If corrective maintenance is adopted, the establishing of a spare parts inventory should be considered. When volatile hourly spot prices are considered, we find that opportunity costs are lowest (highest) when service teams operate at 8 pm (8 am), irrespective of the day of the week, whereas maintenance events scheduled for Wednesdays at 8 am or 2 pm are, given current EPEX spot prices, the most cost-effective in terms of total costs.
Keywords: Photovoltaics, Corrective maintenance, Germany
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