damaged solar panels

What Is the Average Lifespan of Solar Panels?

As an area that is famous for its heat and sunshine, Las Vegas is a prime candidate for products powered by natural resources. That’s why many of its residents invest in solar panels, a power-source solution for homeowners. Given the city’s harsh climate, you might wonder what the lifespan will be for your solar panels. In order to properly maintain them, you’ll need to know what factors affect their longevity.

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Do Solar Panels Ever Wear Out?

On average, solar panels degrade about 1% in efficiency each year. Their lifespan can be affected by poor installation, such as a faulty racking system or exposed wires, or physical damage from inclement weather. Solar panels life spans can also vary depending on the type, how regularly the panels receive inspection and maintenance, how they were installed, and your environment. You can tell solar panels are on the decline when they begin to produce less light and electricity.

How Often Do You Have to Replace Your Solar Panels?

Buyers have to replace their solar panel about 25 to 30 years. How long each solar panel will last primarily depends on the solar panel’s composition. For instance, thin-film solar panels made of amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium selenide degrade faster than the panels that are mono and polycrystalline. This composition affects the length of the warranty. However, it’s also influenced by the manufacturer—though the majority of manufacturers offer the 25-year standard solar panel warranty.

To replace a solar panel, it requires not only knowledge of electrical systems, but also safety awareness and a team willing to help. Without those factors, you can cause property damage, spend more money, or put your or someone else’s safety at risk. This is why many homeowners hire companies that have experienced and licensed workers that can quickly and safely install solar panels. 

What Can I Do to Extend the Average Lifespan of My Solar Panels?

There are actions that you could personally take to extend the average lifespan of your solar panels. One action is avoiding physical damage to the panels, such as trees, branches, or other structures blowing in the wind and falling on the panels. These damages can result in surface scratches and cracks or (if water) result in electrical issues that can reduce the solar performance. Damage is not caused because the panels themselves are fragile. Rather, it’s because solar panels are an intricate system with interconnected parts that are susceptible to damage, despite the system’s overall durability. 

Another potential way to extend the lifespan of your solar panel is ensuring that the panels receive regular maintenance and cleaning. Typically, homeowners don’t inspect or clean their solar panels until something goes wrong. However, solar panels should be inspected and cleaned at a minimum of once every six months to avoid damage and fire risks. 

Plus, cleaning your solar panels is easy! You can choose a cool day—when it’s not too hot or too cold— fill a bucket with warm water or soap, and clean the surface of the solar panel with a soft cloth or sponge. You do not have to clean underneath the panel. However, you should check with the panel manufacturer about what soap they recommend using; one product may be preferable over another. If you’re uninterested in doing it yourself, you may also consider calling a professional solar panel cleaner to do the job.

These actions many seem tedious and time-consuming. But, not following through with regular maintenance and damage control can cause solar panels to lose 15-25% of their efficiency every year, and thus not worth the payoff of the investment. The combination of proper, knowledgeable installation and regular maintenance, though, can lead to positive results. Las Vegas homeowners can save money and improve the environment simply by maintaining their solar panels.