Wash Vehicle Fleet Sizing for Contingency Planning Against Dust Storms: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Wash vehicles containing either high- or low-pressure water sprayers, a collection of rotating brushes, or a combination of these, are frequently utilized in concentrating solar power (CSP) plants to maintain a high level of optical efficiency in the solar field. In recent years, multiple modeling approaches have been developed to obtain fleet sizes and mirror-washing schedules that optimize the tradeoff of vehicle capital and use costs and labor versus lost revenues due to soiling. These planning models cover normal operating conditions well but do not consider rare events such as dust storms which can a significant reduction in receiver productivity, or shut down operations until most or all of the solar field's mirrors have been cleaned. To that end, we propose a methodology that evaluates whether additional capital should be deployed to hedge against these events by weighing the net present value of the expected benefits against the capital costs. The output of this method is a breakeven frequency, a metric we sue to determine whether an additional vehicle should be purchased to address the contingency of dust storms by comparing it to the expected annual storm frequency We develop a small collection of case studies using commercial-scale CSP tower plants and obtain breakeven frequencies that mostly fall between 0.1 and 1.0 storms per year, depending on the existing fleet size and storm severity.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2021
Event26th SolarPACES Conference 2020 -
Duration: 28 Sep 20202 Oct 2020


Conference26th SolarPACES Conference 2020

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-83288 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-77991


  • concentrating solar power
  • contingency planning
  • operations and maintenance


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