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.
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|
|China Sunergy||10 years|
|ET Solar||10 years|
|Renogy Solar||10 years|
|Trina Solar||10 years|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||12 years|
|Itek Energy||12 years|
|REC Solar||12 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.
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.