A common question is the lifespan of a solar panel, thus in this article, we discuss the question, how long do solar panels last?
On average solar panels should be the most productive for up to 25 to 30 years, after the 25-year mark, the solar panel’s effectiveness will be more noticeable in their decreasing productivity. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has calculated that after 20 years of use, a solar panel will have 90% capability, in contrast to when the solar panel was first installed. This is due to degradation in the solar panels. Degradation of solar panels is where the solar panel’s ability to absorb sunlight is decreasing. That is why the solar panel industry-standard gives out a 25-year performance warranty on the solar panels themselves.
The determining factor to how long do solar panels last – Degradation rates
For the maximum proficiency of the solar panels, the solar panels must have low degradation rates. This way the solar panel will produce more energy within the 25-year recommended lifespan. Although, solar panels vary from brand to brand since it all depends on the materials and quality of materials. Overall, on average most solar panels experience about 0.5% degradation rate per year, at worst is 0.8% and at best is 0.3%. For this reason, picking what type of solar panels for your installment is very important in calculating how long do solar panels last for you.
Other factors to help figure out how long do solar panels last
Extreme weather, like cold temperatures and heavy rain, can affect the lifespan of solar panels by increasing the degradation rate of the solar panels. Crystalline silicon panels have been reported to have a higher degradation rate in these weather conditions. While there are many tests done on solar panels today to make sure they can withstand extreme weather, you can’t test for every possible scenario. That is why there are equipment warranties if by chance your solar panels are damaged by the weather.
Another option to consider in maximizing your solar panel lifespan is a routine maintenance check with a trustworthy solar panel installer. This allows you to check if your solar panels are still up-to-date and if anything were to happen during these maintenance checks, then you should be covered with the proper warranties for your roof and solar panels.
Keeping the solar panels clean is also important to a long lifespan, as too much weight on the solar panels could crack the solar panels. A crack in the solar panels could create other problems, like water damage, if water were to get in the solar panels through the cracks. Hence, proper maintenance and cleaning can greatly help estimate a time to how long do solar panels last.
Should I replace my solar panels within the 25-year warranty?
When replacing solar panels, there are some factors to consider, if your current solar panels are producing enough electricity and if your current solar panels can still be properly maintained to continue producing electricity effectively. Most solar panels provide an app, where you can check how much energy you are generating from your phone. If you are content, then you can keep your current system, but you are free to replace your current solar panels for better efficiency. When solar panels are replaced, some solar panel companies typically have a recycling policy to make sure the old solar panels aren’t completely thrown away into the trash.
Conclusion – How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels can last up to 20 to 30 years before the effectiveness of the solar panel decreases greatly. During the lifespan of solar panels, the degradation rate will gradually decrease the performance of the solar panel by a small margin every year. There are other factors that can help with the decrease in performance, like weather and improper maintenance. Hence, it is important to check your solar panel output, clean your solar panels, and a regular maintenance check by a trusted solar installer to maximize a solar panel’s lifespan.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you are interested in solar panel installations for residential, commercial, or recreational, contact Sunny Day Solar today!
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