Economic Evaluation of Maintenance Strategies for Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Plants

FCN Working Paper No. 08/2016

59 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2016

See all articles by Lennart Peters

Lennart Peters

RWTH Aachen University - Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN)

Reinhard Madlener

RWTH Aachen University

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Peters, Lennart and Madlener, Reinhard, Economic Evaluation of Maintenance Strategies for Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Plants (August 2016). FCN Working Paper No. 08/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2883140 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2883140

Lennart Peters

RWTH Aachen University - Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) ( email )

Mathieustrasse 6
Aachen, 52074
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.fcn.eonerc.rwth-aachen.de/

Reinhard Madlener (Contact Author)

RWTH Aachen University ( email )

School of Business and Economics / E.ON ERC
Mathieustra├če 10
Aachen, 52074
Germany
+49 241 80 49 820 (Phone)
+49 241 80 49 829 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eonerc.rwth-aachen.de/fcn

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