Do you care about the clean energy?
Do you want every element of your home to have little impact on the environment as possible? If you answered yes, solar panels might be for you.
Solar power has become an industry standard when it comes to clean energy. But its lifespan depends on the type of solar panel you have installed, how well you take care of it, and what kind of conditions you live in.
We’re here to give you a full guide on the lifespan of solar panels. To get the full lowdown, keep reading.
Solar Panel Lifespan
The average lifespan of solar panels is great. Solar panels can typically last 25 to 30 years, depending on quality, maintenance, and environmental conditions. Most manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty on their panels, meaning that you can expect them to last for at least that long.
Some solar PV panels are even known to last up to 40 years. That said, their performance decreases over time and efficiency may drop by 1-2% each year. With proper maintenance, proper sizing of the system, and regular cleaning, solar panels can last significantly longer.
Average Solar Panel Degradation Rate
The average degradation rate of a solar panel is about 0.5% per year. This means that after 25 years, solar panels are expected to produce roughly 80% of the energy they produced in their first year of operation.
Although manufacturers claim that solar panels can last longer, the degradation rate increases over time, making the average lifespan closer to 20 to 25 years.
Solar panels require regular maintenance to maximize their energy production and to keep their degradation rate under 0.5%.
Cost vs Lifespan of a Solar Energy System
The cost of solar energy systems has fallen dramatically over the past two decades. It is much more affordable than before. Customers these days see a return on investment in 3 to 5 years.
Maintenance is also minimal and can often be done by the customers themselves. By producing their own energy, solar energy system users reduce their dependence on conventional energy sources which makes it more cost-effective.
With upfront costs becoming more accessible and the environmental and financial benefits of solar panels becoming clearer, it’s clear a solar energy system is cost-effective. If you wish to learn more, you can continue reading about solar energy here.
Factors That Affect Degradation Rate
Solar panel systems are expensive. As much as possible, you want to get the most of what you paid for. Identifying what makes a solar panel degrade faster is essential when getting a solar energy system. Here are the factors that affect the degradation rate of a solar panel:
Material and Component Quality
The average lifespan of solar panels can vary significantly depending on material and component quality. High-grade solar panel systems can have a useful lifespan of up to 30–40 years.
On the other hand, lower-grade components may need to be replaced sooner. Using low-end materials reduce the expected lifespan of a system, often to half a traditional lifespan.
Solar panel installation errors can greatly reduce the lifespan of a solar panel. Poorly sealed systems, poor cable routing, and poor mounting hardware are all examples of installation errors that can lead to a shorter lifespan for solar panels.
Poorly sealed systems can cause water to get into the system which can lead to premature cell failure. Poor cable routing can cause excess heat buildup around cells. Poor mounting hardware can cause vibration and failure of the solar panels over time.
Poor maintenance can decrease their lifespan significantly. This leads to higher maintenance costs and shorter lifespans. Keeping solar panels clean is essential for optimal performance. Regular inspections and repairs can help to extend their life.
Dust, air pollution, bird droppings, salt, and other contaminants can build up on the surface. It can reduce the power output of the panel. If regular maintenance isn’t performed, it could lead to significant damage to the system.
Neglecting proper maintenance can also cause total system failure, so it is important to perform one every once in a while.
High-quality, high-efficiency solar panel systems are generally able to withstand harsh weather conditions and last 25 to 30 years. More moderate systems typically have lifespans of 14-20 years.
Factors like air and water exposure, weather conditions, and general wear and tear can influence the life of a solar panel system. Hotter climates and more severe weather, such as hail and high winds, can reduce the lifespan of solar cells.
Tips To Maximize Longevity
Regular inspection and cleaning will help ensure they are working efficiently. If they are not properly taken care of, they can be damaged and will need to be replaced sooner. It is important to keep the panels free of dirt, dust, and debris.
Making sure they are in line with the sun’s trajectory is also important. It increases its energy efficiency and allows its self-cleaning functions to work better. If any parts need to be replaced, they should be swapped with the same type of parts.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your solar panels maintain their maximum efficiency and have an extended lifespan.
Comparing Different Solar Panel Types and Their Lifespans
Polycrystalline panels tend to last the longest with an expected lifespan of 25 years. Monocrystalline panels often come close to 20-25 years due to their smaller cell sizes being more susceptible to debris.
Thin-film solar panels often have a much shorter expected lifespan of around 10-20 years because their cell structures are not as robust as the others. High-efficiency solar panels typically last the longest, up to 30 years.
Additionally, warranties should be kept up to date to ensure you’re covered if your panels unexpectedly fail.
Maximize the Lifespan of Solar Panels in Your Home
Solar panels are built to last many years with minimal maintenance. With proper care, they typically can last up to 25-30 years with little to no decrease in performance.
To ensure a longer lifespan of solar panels, it is important to keep them clean with regular inspection. Use the power of the sun to work to benefit you and your family by investing in solar panels today!
Did you find this article helpful? Check out more of our blogs!