Having a solar panels system installed in your home is a big investment.To that end, you would expect them to last for quite some time. If you are considering such an investment, you might be interested in knowing how long solar panels last before you take the plunge. The experts at solar company Vivint Solar say that a well-maintained system should last for between 25 and 30 years.
Most solar panels systems will come with a 25-year warranty guaranteeing the performance level of the system for this time. However, it is worth noting that the guaranteed output reduces over time. So, while the company might guarantee up to 90% for the first ten years,it could be 80% for the remaining 15 years. This does not mean that the system will not be producing optimal power beyond the 25-year warranty though.
A well cared for solar panel system can continue producing electricity for decades, but even those that are not performing at their optimum level after 25 years may not need to be replaced. Their performance level might indeed drop, but they may still produce enough electricity to power the home.
What is Solar Panel Degradation
Solar panel output naturally declines each year; this is known as solar panel degradation. The rate of degradation is about 0.8% per year, according to a study by the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). This is an average rate and depends on factors such as the type and brand of solar panel system, and how the panels are cared for. Regular maintenance can help them last longer.
Solar panels will naturally degrade over time because they are exposed to varying and sometimes adverse weather conditions. Fluctuating temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow can all affect the performance levels of solar panels over time.
What Affects the Lifespan of Solar Panels
How quickly a solar panel system degrades is down to a few factors. The type of system is one. A high-performance, high-quality system is designed to last longer than one made from cheaper materials.Moreover, you will find that the better the quality and more expensive the system, the lower the degradation rate is. Cheaper solar panel systems tend to use thinner frames and low-quality solar glass. The quantity of aluminum used in cheaper systems is also less as this enables the manufacturer to keep the price lower. However, this means that the panels are more susceptible to exposure to the elements.
As mentioned above, regular maintenance can help to prolong the lifespan of a solar panel system. Despite being a low-maintenance investment, taking care of the panels will benefit you in the long run. This means getting them checked every year by a solar panel servicing company. They can check to make sure everything is working as it should and will be able to monitor the performance levels. If there are any issues, they can make the necessary repairs.
Most servicing companies will clean the panels during the service. Having the panels cleaned regularly will help to ensure optimum performance, as dirt and debris can affect their efficiency.
Solar panel systems are a big investment, but they can help you to make substantial savings over time. The industry standard in terms of how long they will perform at their best is between 25 and 30 years. Nevertheless, with care and attention, a good quality solar panel system can perform efficiently for much longer. If you are going to invest in a solar panel system for your home, it is a good idea to spend a little bit more to ensure it lasts as long as possible.