Whether you are a homeowner looking to produce your own solar electricity or a professional involved in manufacturing and selling solar systems, you must wonder how long do these panels last?

The answer to this one depends on the quality of your equipment. If the solar panel is Silicon-based, the real lifespan of solar panels is said to be an average of 25 years. If the solar panels are not forcefully damaged,  you can expect about a 1 % decrease in efficiency per year.

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How Long do Solar Panels Last?

The average life span of 25 years does not mean that your solar panel will completely shut down and produce no more electricity. After a few decades, you will see a drop in its efficiency and it may be only 80% efficient. The panels are replaced after a few decades as no one prefers to use an old system that is just 50% efficient.

This rate of degradation in efficiency also varies according to the type of panel you have. A crystalline panel usually has a warranty period of 20-25 years and is far more resilient than film panels that will last you about 2-5 years.

What are the Causes of Degradation Rates?

One of the major reasons for a high degradation rate can be extreme climates. The panels that are exposed to heavy wind and snow in very cold climates suffer the most. But if the panels are installed in a facade, eliminating the snow load, the panels have a low rate of degradation even in similar climates.

At locations with deserted climate, the panels have high levels of UV exposure that result in a high decrease in production over-time. In other areas that are prone to pollution, you must be more conscious about cleaning them. Clean panels can increase the efficiency of your system by 3 to 5% per year.

Solar Panel Product Warranty from their Manufacturer

Manufacturer Duration of warranty
Green Brilliance 5 years
Canadian Solar 10 years
Centrosolar 10 years
China Sunergy 10 years
ET Solar 10 years
Hyundai 10 years
JinkoSolar 10 years
Kyocera 10 years
ReneSola 10 years
Renogy Solar 10 years
Seraphim 10 years
Stion 10 years
Trina Solar 10 years
Amerisolar 12 years
Axitec 12 years
Hanwha Q CELLS 12 years
Itek Energy 12 years
REC Solar 12 years
SolarWorld 20 years
LG 25 years
Panasonic 25 years
Silfab 25 years
Solaria 25 years
SunPower 25 years

How can you Increase the Longevity of Your Solar Panels?

Solar panels itself are very fragile but protected by the tempered glass surrounding it.  This glass is durable and supported by metal. All the reputed solar companies use tempered glass by default. An alternative for this tempered glass is a flat plate glass which is cheaper and less durable.

Aside from that, there are a few ways in which you can keep them functioning at full capacity.

Regular Inspection

Checking your solar panel regularly can help to identify small defects that will help to avoid chances of bigger damage. You can check for exposed wiring, minor cracks, loose racking and fix them.

Remove the Debris

If you continue to clean up your solar panel, you will minimize the chances of developing defects. You must keep the snow and frost off the panels in order to maintain the required efficiency without causing you any trouble.

Full Access to Light

You should avoid installing a solar panel under shades. It will have a negative impact on the panel’s efficiency. The shaded areas are a high-resistance “hotspot”, and they can accelerate the degradation of your solar module over to.

Reputed Manufacturer

You must get your system from a reputed manufacturer. The ones that have been in business for a while and can ensure to give you a high-quality solar panel. If you choose a manufacturer that uses substandard materials to encapsulate the conductive materials and metal, you should keep in mind that the panel will degrade soon.

However, before taking the matters of maintenance into your own hands, you might want to check how your supplier can help. Many offer free maintenance and taking a piece of professional advice is always the best.

Final Words,

The solar system can withstand around 90 plus MPH winds, small tree branches, golf ball-sized hail that is used around the system. It can withstand almost all weather conditions nationwide. Going solar might be expensive at first but is a good long-time investment.

(Last Updated on July 4, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Nina Howell is a Rewenable Energy researcher and consultant based out of Houston, Texas Area. She earned her Master's Degree in Energy and Earth Resources from Austin Jackson School of Geosciences in 2010, and a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2008. Nina has been working in the energy sector since 2011. She worked as an Energy Supply Analyst from 2011 to 2017 in Bounce Energy and then as a Research and Energy Consultant at GE Renewable Energy from March 2017 to February 2020 . Nina is a mom of 2 beautiful children who are joy to her life. She strongly believes in eco-friendly living and is vocal about renewable energy, environmental issues, water crisis, and sustainable living.