A Residential & Commercial Solar Installation Company Solar Repair & Maintenance

The short answer is that according to industry stats, the lifespan of a solar panel is 25 to 30 years. Reputed solar panel manufacturers typically offer a 25-year warranty. But even after 25 years, solar panels don't just stop working; instead, they lose efficiency, and their power output decreases. 

Let’s take a closer look at how solar panel longevity works!

What is the lifespan of solar panels?

On average the lifespan of solar panels is about 25-30 years. However, this 25-year mark means that solar panels will continue generating a significant amount of energy, as specified by solar panel manufacturers or mentioned in the brand's warranty for solar panels. Solar panels (or solar modules) can even live longer than 40 years but with much less efficiency and production of energy. Although you do need to protect solar panels from external physical damage like wind, debris or extreme weather. Physical damage to solar panels is not common because they are fixed at one place so it is easy to protect them and they don’t internally damage a lot.

How soon do solar panels degrade?

Degradation rate of a solar panel describes the per year decrease in solar panel performance. So a 0.5% degradation rate would mean that the solar panel will lose 1% of its performance in 2 years, and so on. Most tier 1 solar panels have a degradation rate of 0.3%. 

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) did a meta analysis on the degradation rates of solar panels where they studied 2000 degradation rates of different solar panels. They found that on average solar panels have a degradation rate of 0.8%. They also found that a lot of modern solar panels had degradation rates near to 0.5% which means that after 25 years they were able to have a performance of 87.5%.

Which Solar Panels Last Longest?

Now you would be wondering which solar panels should you go for to have better performance even after decades. Solar panels are ranked on a tier system which includes, tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 solar panels. These tiers are decided based on the quality and performance of the solar panels and also the stability of finances of their manufacturers.

Most solar panels from tier 1 manufacturers have a solar panel degradation rate of 0.3% meaning they last longer than the tier 2 and tier 3 solar panels. However the cost of tier 1 solar panels is up to 30% higher than tier 2 and 3. So it comes down to how much money you would like to spend upfront on your solar system. 

Factors that affect the lifespan of solar panels

Quality

As we discussed earlier, the quality of the solar panels is the most important thing when it comes to their lifespan. If you have solar panels from tier 1 manufacturers, they will generally last longer than other solar panels. So whenever you are contacting a company for solar installation, do inquire about the quality of the solar panels which will be used in your system.

Installation

https://www.yellowlite.com/blogs/solar-panel-installation-solar-energy-yellowlite/ you should always choose a premium solar installation company. An experienced solar installer would ensure that the solar array is supported by racking long term. The correct wiring, and other related equipment like inverters and batteries also plays a role in solar panels lasting longer.

Climate

Extreme weather conditions can have an effect on the performance of your solar panels. Hail, storms or debris can damage your solar panels and have an impact on their longevity. Extreme heat and humidity can also cause your solar panel material to degrade faster.

Maintenance

Maintenance of solar panels can include cleaning them or having solar experts perform an inspection to ensure everything is functioning correctly. You can also install solar panel critter guards to protect your solar panels.


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