O&M for PV Plants in MENA

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority

This week, PV Insider, CSP Today and MENASOL hosted a seminar on Optimal O&M for PV Plants in MENA.  It gave practical insight into some of the soiling and O&M issues that developers, asset managers, and debt providers take into account in O&M planning and budgeting.

Frank Teofilo of First Solar discussed O&M practices for Phase 1 of the Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.  Phase 1 is a 13 MW project that is the initial stepping stone in a multi-phase project that enjoys strong support from the Government of Dubai and will total 1,000 MW of combine PV and CSP capacity.

ModuleSoiling

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The impact of dust exposure over time is shown at left and a clear indication of climate conditions in GCC coastal locations.  Low cost labour and low water availability justify manual cleaning and dry processes.  In one approach, First Solar used a brush trolly where dual brushes are suspended on the trolly frame and two workers man each unit.  In the second approach, a dust broom is used and 4 workers clean 1MW of capacity per night.

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The following graph shows plant production as a function of time of day and given different cleaning strategies.  The extremes include heavily soiled modules and no cleaning for 2 months, versus wet cleaned modules that were maintained daily.  Production profiles for the two varied by 35% at a zenith angle of zero.  Financial exposures include  power losses, equipment damange due to surface abrasions, and dust migration into sensitive electronics.

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Ignazio Martinez of DNV-GL presented slides on risk mitigation in O&M. A conceptual profile of dust losses was shared.  It shows a range of production losses attributed to dust applied in project feasibility assessments and financing.

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