In your foray into renewable energy, you might have gotten into the market for solar panels. A great headway that gives you long term freedom from your electric bill while keeping you environmentally conscious. While costs of panels have fallen over the years, converting to solar is still a large upfront investment, so you want to make sure that your panels last as long as humanly possible. Here is everything you need to know about how long your panels will last, how to make them live longer, and how to maintain them properly so that you can enjoy all the benefits of efficient solar panels for years to come.
How Long They Generally Last?
In most cases, the industry average for solar panels is around 25-30 years. That’s a considerable amount of time for anything, but there are several factors to consider that could affect this. Solar panels slowly degrade over time, even when well cleaned and maintained, by an average output of around 0.8% per year, a minuscule number on the surface, but one that can stack up over time. Thankfully, newer panels and higher quality brands boast even lower degradation rates. Looking into the types of panels you own could be a good indicator of their lifecycles, as thin-film panels degrade at a faster rate than mono/polycrystalline panels.
With rates such as these, that means even after the 25-30 year lifecycle of your panels, they will still be operating at around 70-80% as much as they did on their best days, which given the timeframe makes them well worth the initial cost. Typically, panels will well outlive their initial life expectancies. Did you know that even the world’s first modern panel is operational today, well after 60 years! With rapidly improving advancements in solar technology and more people investing in clean energy, these numbers are sure to go up even more as time goes on.
How to Make Them Last Longer?
Keeping your panels at peak performance can entail several methods that ensure they last even longer than your warranty would suggest. Keeping your panels clean and well maintained will help lower the risk of damage to your panels. Performing occasional check-ups and maintenance from your solar panel provider will help reveal potential issues that cut into the lifespan of your panels as well, such as hidden damage or faulty wiring. Making use of your warranty and replacements will ensure them generating power for much longer, or just receiving new panels outright. One thing to consider in keeping your panels damage-free is the weather conditions of your area. If you live in a place with frequent hail or storms, the wear and tear could cut into your panel’s ability to generate power effectively. Extreme heat can cause the adverse effect of making your panels more brittle, while freezing temperatures can cause panels to crack. If you live in a spot where the risk to your panels is much greater, you might want to consider investing in sheltering options for them.
There are even more options to future proof your panels as they reach into the later stages of the 25-30 year life cycles. Merely adding another panel to your array can usually offset the degradation of efficiency on your entire array, ensuring you get even more output regardless of how long you’ve been using the rest.
Despite the risk of degradation to solar panels, the advantages of extremely long life cycles, easy maintenance, great warranty options, and overall savings in costs make investing in solar panels a much greater benefit than risk. With a one time installation and proper care, your panels will keep you powered with clean energy for decades to come.