"They last for months. The seasons on Mars are timed about the same as Earth’s but longer. The Spring on Mars is seven months; summer is six
months; fall is longer than five months; and winter is just over 4 months. In
all, a Mars year totals at 1.88 years long. Sometimes the winds have been
clocked up to 350mph with an average of sixty miles per hour during the spring and summer seasons. The winds had been known to move large boulders the size of two story houses across the drifting sands."
Where and how would we mitigate the storms while we try to live on Mars? If we used solar cells as we do on Earth, how are they cleaned. Here are some excepts to give you an idea of the enormity of cleaning solar panels after a sand storm:
For larger commercial rooftop systems, the financial burden is large, but still rarely enough to warrant the cost of washing the panels. On average, panels lost a little less than 0.05 percent of their overall efficiency per
day. Applying a hydrophobic coating on Earth that forms a barrier so when water accumulates
on the surface it is blocked from adhering to the surface by the barrier. This means that when a treated surface is tilted at an angle, the water rolls off the surface. Would sand do the same? Research has estimated that a dust layer of 4 grams per square meter can decrease solar power conversion by 40 percent. Dust is distributed in Arizona at a rate of 17 grams per square meter per month.
In my story concerning the panels, as do some on earth, after supplying energy that can be stored in sophisticated batteries or turbines they can then be rotated to face the surface until the storm has passed, but for a limited time, as the storms on Mars takes months. As to movement to maximize sun reception, some work on the sunflower theory:
When sunlight hits a mirror beneath the solar panel, it is reflected to focus onto one of multiple actuators made of LCE and carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes warm as they absorb light, and the difference of heat causes the LCE to contract, causing the assembly to bow in the direction of the strongest sunlight.
Wind power could be an alternative but the same problem can occur when winds pick up to 250mph. Will we solve this dilemma in 300 years from now?