A reliability and availability model has been developed for a portion of the 4.6 megawatt (MWdc) photovoltaic system operated by Tucson Electric Power (TEP) at Springerville, Arizona using a commercially available software tool, GoldSim™. This reliability model has been populated with life distributions and repair distributions derived from data accumulated during five years of operation of this system. This reliability and availability model was incorporated into another model that simulated daily and seasonal solar irradiance and photovoltaic module performance. The resulting combined model allows prediction of kilowatt hour (kWh) energy output of the system based on availability of components of the system, solar irradiance, and module and
inverter performance. This model was then used to study the sensitivity of energy output as a function of photovoltaic (PV) module degradation at different rates and the effect of location (solar irradiance). Plots of cumulative energy output versus time for a 30 year period are provided for each of these cases.
Keywords: effective availability, photovoltaic reliability, sensitivity, solar irradiance, system modeling,