How Long Do Solar Panels Last?: The Average Lifespan Of Solar Panels

Homeowners and companies around the country are becoming increasingly interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle. Solar energy is the most cost-effective option to shift to clean, sustainable energy while also significantly decreasing — or perhaps eliminating — your monthly utility expenses!

To get the most out of your solar panel installation, it’s critical to understand the typical lifespan of solar panels and decide whether a solar energy system is a good investment for your house or company.

We’ll examine how to extend the life of your solar panel system, the precise maintenance necessary, the reasons for deterioration, and other elements that impact the lifespan of solar panels or restrict their efficiency and performance.

Why Do Solar Panels Degrade?

Solar panels may deteriorate more rapidly than anticipated for a variety of reasons.

When solar panels are subjected to harsh climatic changes, are heavily soiled, or are incorrectly mounted, crystalline silicon panels may degrade at a faster pace. Additionally, the excellence of the technology employed by various manufacturers might be a factor.

What Is A Solar Panel Degradation Rate?

Over the course of their lifespan, solar panel systems will lose their capacity to collect sunlight and convert it to solar energy. However, this gradual loss of efficiency takes several years to manifest. This is due to a combination of factors, including hot temperatures and the panels’ natural loss of chemical effectiveness, referred to as the “degradation rate.”

Over the course of its life, a solar panel with a lower deterioration rate will produce more energy. In essence, the slower the rate of deterioration, the better the solar panel. Solar panel deterioration rates may vary by brand. As expected, higher-quality panels degrade at a slower rate than lower-quality panels.

According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) research, the typical solar panel loses 0.8 percent of its power per year. Premium manufacturers, on the other hand, like as SunPower, provide panels with degradation rates as low as 0.3 percent, implying that their panels would last far longer than those from the bulk of other manufacturers. As a result, deterioration rate is a critical factor to consider when comparing solar panels as part of your pre-purchase research.

Related: Best Solar Panel Brands

Factors That Affect The Lifespan of Solar Panels

When it comes to technology, there is no such thing as perfection. The following are some aspects that may affect your solar panel system’s efficiency or performance.

WEATHER

The weather also has a crucial effect on the solar panel’s lifetime.

A severe windstorm can result in tree branches falling and perhaps damaging the solar panels’ anti-reflective glass covering. Heavy snowfall can erode the structural integrity of panels and increase deterioration, while big hailstones can cause damage to the glass.

However, the majority of manufacturers test and certify solar panels for their ability to endure storms and other adverse weather.

INSTALLATION ISSUES

Solar panels are often free of flaws due to their endurance. However, you should exercise extra caution while connecting and installing panels for the first time. When installing solar panel arrays, solar engineers must consider the connecting system as well as the state of the roof.

If an installer does not properly analyze any concerns with an older, damaged, or leaking roof, it might result in major difficulties later on. Before beginning any work on your house or company, conduct research and locate a reputable installer.

Related: What To Know Before Installing Solar Panels

MOUNTING POSITION

Solar panels are powered by the amount of solar energy they can absorb. By orienting your panels to get as much sunlight as possible, you may maximize their efficiency. Thus, mounting is a critical component to consider when it comes to energy generation.

Roof solar panels collect varying quantities of sunlight throughout the day, depending on the position of the sun in the sky. However, in general, a south-facing position provides the best all-day sun exposure.

SOLAR IRRADIATION

The majority of people believe that the sun’s heat enables photovoltaic (PV) cells in solar panels to generate energy. Indeed, sunshine is required for solar panels to work correctly and provide sustainable energy. The quantity of energy generated by solar panels is directly proportional to the amount of sunshine (UV rays) that strikes the panel.

TEMPERATURE

Before putting solar panels on your house or company, it is critical to evaluate the normal temperature in your area.

Extremely high levels of surplus heat might significantly impair your system’s ability to generate electricity. Consider the climate in your location to help you place your solar panels in a way that allows for enough airflow, which keeps them at the optimal temperature for optimal operation.

Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?

Solar panels are a low-maintenance technology. Periodic cleaning is often advised every few years, depending on your area, to optimize long-term energy output.

How Can You Keep Your Solar Panels Efficient For Years To Come?

Solar panels are incredibly durable, lasting nearly three decades on average. Manufacturers subject them to extensive testing to ensure they can survive harsh weather conditions such as high winds, heavy snow, and even hail. Additionally, because solar panel systems are often devoid of moving components, they do not require periodic maintenance.

All of these variables contribute to the solar panel’s extended life. Here are some tips for extending the life of your solar panels.

COLLABORATE WITH A TRUSTED SOLAR COMPANY

A reputable solar installation will have years of expertise, as well as outstanding client evaluations. Additionally, they’ll have a track record of providing exceptional customer service – an essential when making such a significant purchase.

ASK YOUR INSTALLER TO CONTROL YOUR PANELS ON A REGULAR BASIS

We frequently inspect our automobiles, so why wouldn’t we do the same with our solar installations?

If output begins to fall, a solar maintenance specialist should inspect your system in person for potential problems such as exposed wiring, loose racking, and microcracks. If you attempt to disassemble and analyze your solar system on your own, you risk causing extra damage and voiding the warranty.

It is advised that you get your installation cleaned and inspected once a year to ensure that it is working at optimal functionality. You’ll want to hire a professional inspector rather than doing the inspection yourself. If you scratch or damage any of the panels accidently, this may void your warranty.

BATTERIES MAINTENANCE AND REPLACEMENT

If your solar power system incorporates a battery backup system, it’s critical to factor in maintenance and replacement expenses.

Periodic examination is required for the majority of lithium ion and sealed lead-acid batteries. The manufacturer’s guarantee normally lasts between three and ten years, depending on the kind of battery you purchase.

You can assist extend the life of your batteries by installing and inspecting them properly.

REMOVE DEBRIS AND OTHER DAMAGING MATERIALS FROM YOUR PANELS

During installation, the solar business you’ve chosen will check that no trees have branches that may fall on your panels. Even so, you can help extend the life of your solar panels by keeping them clean and free of debris, leaves, and snow, among other things. However, it is recommended that you have a professional examine your system’s energy production — even individual panels if you are using microinverters — to identify any potential damage over time.

If you see any damage or debris on your panels but are unable to securely reach them, it is preferable to contact a solar provider equipped with the necessary equipment and skills.

STANDARD WARRANTIES ON SOLAR PANELS

The warranty period indicates the manufacturer’s best estimate of a solar panel’s life expectancy.

The average lifespan of a solar installation is 25 years. Manufacturers can guarantee that panels will perform at or near their optimal efficiency over this time frame. The majority of warranties guarantee at least 80% of the rated output.

When it comes to craftsmanship, individual guarantees are often provided for particular items such as defective framing or junction boxes. Warranties on workmanship and equipment other than the solar panels, such as the inverter and monitoring equipment, are often shorter.