The duration of the solar panels or their useful life exceeds 25/30 years of useful life as long as they are quality panels and they are properly maintained and cared for.
You’ve probably heard that the productive lifespan of a solar panel is typically 25-30 years. This does not mean that your solar panel suddenly stops working after that time. What will happen is that its performance will progressively decrease but maintaining a production greater than 70%.
It’s hard to understand the initial cost of solar energy without knowing how long you can expect the solar panels on your roof to produce enough power. Your solar panels will be able to offset your electricity consumption for decades; but it is also important to understand issues such as degradation rates.
At Energy Change we want to share our experience with solar energy with you, so that you have the necessary information to start saving with clean energy.
In this article we explain how long solar panels last and what elements influence their durability.
What is the duration of the solar panels?
As we said, as a general rule, solar panels last between 25 and 30 years. After this time, the solar panel will continue to produce electricity, although in less quantity.
In fact, solar panels will continue to work for many decades, since they are prepared to withstand the force of the wind, as well as other external factors. This is mainly because solar panels have no moving parts; They rarely break from the inside and are usually only damaged by external forces, such as poor installation or very severe weather.
Where to find reliable solar panel for sale? It is recommended that you can choose some of the Amazon stores with a large number of reviews, and most of them are well-received stores to buy the solar panels you want. Secondly, it is also a great choice to choose to buy on the official websites of some big brands in the solar field. Because these companies have been in the solar field for many years and have rich experience in research and development, their products are often more guaranteed. For example Renogy.
A good indicator of the durability of solar panels is the guarantee offered by their manufacturers. On the one hand, there is the equipment or product guarantee, to cover you against manufacturing defects; on the other hand, you have a performance or production guarantee, to ensure that your panels will not drop below a certain electricity production. The equipment warranty is usually 10 or 12 years, while the production warranty will reach 25, with a yield of 70 or 80%. This talking about standard solar panels.
If we go to Premium or high-quality solar panel sales, such as LG NeONH+ solar panels, the product warranty will reach 25 years and the production warranty will continue at 25 years, but with a higher performance that will be around 90% .
What causes a solar panel to lose performance over the years?
The key factor that affects the durability of solar panels is called the rate of degradation. It responds to the percentage of performance decrease that the solar panel will suffer each year.
A decade ago, the rate of degradation in a standard solar panel was around 0.8% per year; after 25 years, we would be talking about a 20% decrease in production. So the solar panel would continue to work at 80% of its initial production.
Over the years, more efficient technologies have been developed and newer panels have only a 0.5% annual decrease in energy output. This is how they manage to maintain electricity production at around 87.5% after 25 years.
And if we talk about high-quality solar panels, such as SunPower, the degradation rate is reduced even more, up to 0.3%; This means that after 25 years, your solar panel will continue to produce at 92.5% of its capacity.
To determine the output of your solar panels after a certain number of years, you simply multiply the degradation rate by the number of years you want and subtract that number from 100%.
Sustainable solar panels
If you are interested in renewable energies, in addition to the savings opportunity they represent, it may be because you are interested in the environment. If so, you should not worry because not only will you be using a technology that works with clean and renewable energy, but you will also have a sustainable product.
A solar panel’s lifespan of 25 to 30 years is significantly longer than its “energy payback time” or EPBT. EPBT is the amount of time it takes for a solar panel to produce enough clean electricity to “pay back” the energy that was used to make it in the first place. A 2010 Brookhaven National Laboratory study found that the EPBT of a solar panel is only six months; a number that has surely decreased in the last eleven years, as the manufacture of solar panels has become more efficient.
How can you extend the duration of your solar panels?
In general, solar panels are extremely durable. Most manufacturers test their panels to confirm that they can withstand high winds and heavy snow loads; And many solar panels are specifically tested to ensure they can withstand hail. Additionally, rv solar panels power system typically have no moving parts and require very little maintenance.
The best way to keep extending the life of your solar panels is to work with a reputable installer who offers a solid service to their customers. It’s also important to buy solar panels that have strong warranties: Many panel manufacturers offer 10- to 12-year equipment warranties on their panels that cover defects and environmental damage, as well as production warranties that typically last around 25 years. You also have Premium panels with 25-year product and production guarantees.
Also, keeping your solar panel system in good shape can lead to a lower rate of degradation each year; and it can assure you a longer performance of the panel.
Here are some actions you can take to make your solar panels last longer.
Keep your solar panels free of dirt
When you first install your solar panels, your installer will make sure there are no large trees or other items that could cast shade or collect leaves or other debris on your panels. This is important not only so that your production is not reduced, but also to avoid accelerated deterioration of the panel itself, due to the generation, for example, of hot spots. Therefore, to improve the duration of the solar panels, it is recommended to clean them at least once a year.
As long as you can prevent physical damage to your solar panels, they will continue to produce power for many years; possibly well beyond the 25 to 30 year “useful life” of standard models. You can even purchase special products to prevent specific types of physical damage to your panels; for example, guards to prevent animals like squirrels and birds from nesting under your panels, which can cause damage to the panels and cables over time. If damage occurs, you may need to shop solar kits.
Have your installer check your panels regularly
The best way to ensure that your solar panels last as long as they should be is to have your solar energy system regularly examined by your installer or operations and maintenance (O&M) provider. A regular exam can reveal potential problems like loose items, exposed wires, and other necessary issues. It’s important to have your plates professionally checked rather than doing it yourself, as you can inadvertently void your panel’s warranty if you end up scratching or damaging them in any way.
An inspection of your solar panels may also include a review of the other equipment involved in a solar installation. A typical central inverter for a photovoltaic installation will last between 10 and 15 years and will therefore need to be replaced at some point during the life of your solar panels. You also have manufacturers, that offer warranty extensions of up to 20 or 25 years. In turn, you can opt for the option of micro solar inverters.
Although it is obvious, it is not a bad idea for your installer to make sure that the panels are well mounted and secured to the roof, so that they do not come loose, move or fall completely.
When to consider replacing your solar panels?
As we have seen, solar panels will continue to produce electricity even after the 25-year warranty period, if they are well maintained. However, it is important to note that they will not be as efficient in producing energy as when they were first installed.
Therefore, you do NOT need to replace your panels if:
1) Your solar panels produce enough energy to cover your electrical needs.
2) If none of your panels is broken.
But you need to replace your panels if:
1) Your solar panels produce very little electricity to the point where they no longer adequately power your energy needs.
2) Your system was not properly maintained and has many broken panels.
So if after the 25-year period you notice that your energy bill is slowly increasing, it could be because your solar energy system is not working efficiently. Should this happen, you may need to invest in new solar panels.
Manufacturers of quality power inverter offer apps that monitor your solar electricity generation on a monthly or even daily basis. Having an idea of what your panels are producing will help you notice if something is wrong. For example, if your solar panels generate 35kWh of electricity per week and you notice that over the years this drops to 32kWh, then 30kWh, and there is no visible debris or increased shade coverage on your roof, this can indicate that your panels are beginning to degrade.
When your solar panels no longer produce the amount of electricity you need, it’s time to replace them.
In this article we have seen that solar panels, with a minimum of maintenance, can last 25 or 30 years, with high production; but it can continue to function for more years, although with lower production.
If you want more information about solar panels sale, just contact us. We can advise you for free on everything you need to know about solar energy. And if you want to switch to photovoltaic self-consumption, ask us for a budget without commitment.