Solar panel usage has risen substantially in recent years, providing a plethora of benefits to homeowners who take advantage of energy production from the sun’s rays!

These include lower energy expenses, greater home value, lower environmental impact, and reduced carbon footprint.

Solar panels can have a high upfront cost. So before making such an investment homeowners understandably want to know how many years the solar panels last, and whether the solar panel lifespan makes it worth what the solar panels cost.

That’s why many ask: how long do solar panels last?

In this blog post, we’ll explain how long solar panels last, as well as some of the elements that determine their lifespan and how you can make them last longer to get the most rays for your investment, in the sections below.

Man inspecting solar panel

Solar panel degradation: what is it?

Over time, solar panel systems will lose some of their ability to absorb sunlight and convert it into solar energy. However, the solar panel degradation rates and gradual loss of efficiency take many years.

Hot weather and the natural loss in chemical potency of the panels, often known as the “degradation rate,” are two factors that contribute to this. Over the course of its lifetime, a solar panel with a lower deterioration rate will produce a better solar energy system.

The lower the rate of degradation, the better the solar panel system is. The rate of depreciation of solar panels is also dependent on the brand. Higher-quality panels will degrade at a slower rate than lower-quality panels, as you might imagine, meaning there will be a better energy output over the lifespan of the solar panels.

According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory research, the average solar panels lose 0.8 percent of its production each year. Premium manufacturers, on the other hand, provide panels with degradation rates as low as 0.3 percent, implying that their panels would survive significantly longer than the bulk of other brands.

As a result, when comparing a solar panel system and efficiency during your pre-purchase study, the deterioration rate is an important factor to consider.

Elements affecting solar panels’ performance and effectiveness

When it comes to technology, there is no such thing as perfection!

Here are some key factors to consider when it comes to the performance and quality of your solar panel installation.

solar panels

Irradiation from the sun

The majority of people believe that the sun’s heat enables photovoltaic cells in solar panels to generate electricity and better solar power.

Solar panels, in reality, require sunlight to function effectively and provide sustainable energy. It generates electricity in direct proportion to the amount of sunshine that falls on them, not the heat.

The position for mounting

Sun panels work by absorbing as much solar energy as possible. Installing your panels so that they are exposed to as much sunlight as possible can improve their efficiency.

As a result, mounting is an important component to consider when it comes to energy generation.

Climate change

Extreme weather might shorten a solar panel’s lifespan. Tree branches may fall during a strong windstorm, potentially damaging the anti-reflective glass coating that protects the solar panels. Heavy snowfall can cause panels to lose structural integrity and speed up the deterioration process, while huge hailstones could possibly shatter the glass.

Installation of solar panels

You may notice that your solar panels degrade more quickly if you reside in a location with cold temperatures, heavy rain, snow, or hail.

Considering the weather in your area can help you place your solar panels in a way that allows for adequate airflow, maintaining them at the proper temperature for optimal performance.

The installation

The manner your panels are installed, as well as the racking system on which they are installed, might have an impact on how quickly they degrade. Solar panels are often free of flaws because they are designed to last.

When connecting and installing panels for the first time, though, you need to use extra caution! When installing a solar array, solar engineers must consider the connecting system as well as the state of the roof. If the installer fails to properly examine any flaws, an old, damaged, or leaky roof could cause major problems in the future.

Before completing any work on your house or company premises, make sure you do your research and choose a reputable solar installer.

The quality

The quality of materials and type of solar panels you install will have an impact on how well they operate and how long they endure, as with most things.

Low-quality materials may be less expensive, but they are likely to decay more quickly meaning lower energy production over the lifespan of solar panels.

The maintenance

Solar panels, like anything else of value, live longer if they are well-maintained!

If the panels are unclean, have debris on them, or are not maintained on a regular basis, the solar panel degradation rate will be faster.

Installation of solar panels

Top tips to make your solar panel last longer at home

Solar panels have the advantage of requiring relatively little repair. Unless your area is especially prone to dust, grime, pollen, or sand owing to an arid climate, very regular solar panel cleaning is usually not needed.

While solar panels are relatively low-maintenance, it is nevertheless necessary to maintain and monitor their functioning on a regular basis.

Here are a few pointers to make sure your solar system is performing at its best:

Tip 1: Make sure your panels are checked and maintained on a regular basis

The performance of your solar system’s panels, meters, inverter, and other equipment will all benefit from routine maintenance checks. It’s also crucial to keep track of any changes in your electric bills or energy consumption.

As with anything, solar panels last longer with proper maintenance!

If your solar panels are underperforming after a rainstorm or being hosed down with water, or if you see an odd increase in your power bill, it could be a sign of an electrical problem that requires professional attention.

Tip 2: Keep your panels free of trash and other potentially harmful substances

Dirt, pollen, leaves, and bird droppings can all reduce the effectiveness of your solar panels.

While rain is usually sufficient for cleaning your panels, if you notice your panels aren’t performing to their maximum potential and the average solar panel output has reduced, you may want to consider hiring a professional to clean them.

You’ll also want to make sure your panels aren’t shaded by branches, as this could lower output and cause major damage if the trees fall in a storm.

Technician wiping solar panels

If any of these factors obstruct or harm your panels, and you don’t have the necessary knowledge or equipment to take action, immediately call your solar provider for assistance.

Tip 3: After ten years, it’s time to replace the inverters

Defective solar inverters trigger system breakdowns far more frequently than faulty panels. A conventional PV inverter has a lifespan of 10-15 years and comes with a guarantee of 5-10 years.

This implies that the inverter will need to be replaced considerably sooner than the panels. Many homes are opting for microinverters these days since they should last up to 25 years, which is almost as long as quality panels with an industry-standard life span of 25-30 years.

Tip 4: Follow the proper battery maintenance and replacement schedule

When you have a large battery bank, rotate them on a regular basis. This ensures that each battery receives the same amount of charge, extending its service life and ensuring peak performance. You can also enhance their charging by using large, low-resistance battery cords.

It’s recommended not to leave your batteries uncharged for more than a few hours at a time, as this can degrade their capacity.

Tip 5: Partner with a reputable solar company

Using a professional to get your solar panels installed is the best way to secure the durability of your solar system.

Despite the fact that solar systems require little regular maintenance, many solar companies offer full maintenance packages throughout the lifetime of their product to ensure that it maintains peak efficiency and continues to generate clean, economical, and reliable electricity for decades.

So when do your solar panels need replacing?

Solar panels last anywhere from 20 to 30 years on average, but there’s no specific lifespan of solar panels and no rule that says you have to replace them at a certain point! It’s more crucial to keep an eye on their power output.

It’s possible that your solar panels don’t need to be changed if they’re still in good form and producing electricity.

Construction worker building a log house

On the other hand, if your electric bill is rising because your solar panels aren’t performing as well as they did decades ago, it’s probably time to replace them.

Solar panels are covered by standard warranties

The warranty period indicates how long the solar panel manufacturers expect a solar panel to last. The average lifespan of a solar installation is around 25 years.

Solar panel manufacturers test their products so they can guarantee that solar panels will perform at or near their optimal efficiency throughout this time.

The majority of warranties guarantee at least 80% of the rated solar power output. When it comes to manufacturing defects, guarantees are frequently provided for specific issues like faulty framing or junction boxes.

Workmanship and equipment beyond the panels, such as the inverters and electronic tools, are usually covered by shorter warranties.

Should your solar panels be replaced after twenty-five years?

If properly maintained, solar panel systems will continue to provide electricity even after the 25-year guarantee period has expired. It’s worth noting though that there will likely be a natural reduction from their original output, and they won’t be as energy-efficient as they were when they were first installed.

But even so, you won’t have to replace your panels if your solar panels produce electricity enough to meet your demands despite a reduced power output, and none of your solar panels are damaged.

You might consider replacing them if they no longer produce energy that is sufficient to run your home. Or perhaps your solar cells were not installed correctly and have not been cared for properly.

Working with a reliable installation company can help ensure that your solar panels are of good quality and are covered by a decent equipment warranty.

Remember, many solar panels are extremely durable and rarely “go bad” and stop producing electricity! So you should have no trouble relying on them for the next 25 years or more!

Take away

The kind of solar panel you purchase, the local environment, your maintenance regime, and the brand you choose will be a key factors in how long a solar panel lasts. Extreme temperatures, wind, and snow might damage the components of your panel, so be cautious.

Dirt, debris, and other damaging materials on the panel surface should also be avoided because they can affect its effectiveness, so try to keep your panels clean.

Most solar providers will give a robust guarantee, which is the most effective approach to ensure that your solar panels last a long time and keep your electricity bill low!

Moreover, if your solar system components are properly installed and maintained, solar electricity is one of the best sources of green energy. They will continue to earn a return on your investment due to their resilience and long lifespan.