Economic Optimization of Maintenance against Soiling in Photovoltaic Plants
Keywords:photovoltaic systems, soil, power generation economics, maintenance management
The electrical energy delivered by a photovoltaic generation system is directly associated with the availability of solar radiation. Nonetheless, external factors related to location and geographical conditions can have major impacts on energy generation. One of these externalities is the sedimentation of materials on the photovoltaic modules surface, which leads to significant reductions in the power generation capacity, resulting in costs to the generating plants. Among the techniques used to mitigate the impacts of soiling on photovoltaic modules, cleaning is considered the most efficient maintenance. Therefore, this paper developed a model for analysis and optimization of preventive maintenance plans for cleaning photovoltaic modules, in order to diminish the effects of dust deposition on energy generation and, consequently, on operational cash flow. Costs of production loss were considered, as well as maintenance costs, as function of the frequency of cleaning, and thus accounted the total costs of the power plant operation, in order to identify an optimum point of cleaning frequency, in other words, the point of minimum total cost.