Plant downtime refers to the amount of time a power plant is unavailable to produce power, whether because it is offline for maintenance or, as in the case of renewable power plants, the energy source for power plants is unavailable (for example, when the sun goes down solar pv power plants cannot provide power).
For renewable power plants, the main way to improve downtime is by siting power plants in areas with better resource quality. One method is to increase the ease with which power plants can be built in regions with higher resource potentials, for example through the use of designated energy zones with expedited permitting processes. Another option is to co-optimize transmission planning with renewable energy development, which reduces losses from transporting power from the power plant to the transmission line.
For thermal power plants, improving plant downtime is best achieved through minimizing forced outages by improving maintenance at power plants. For example, plant operators can install technologies that can sense problems before they arise, allowing operators to undertake preventative maintenance and avoid costly and lengthy repairs down the road.