Solar panels are a long-term investment, but like any working capital, they lose efficiency over time. Find out how to account for any drop before...
What Is the Average Lifespan of Solar Panels?
How long will your solar panels last? Find out what factors affect their longevity and what you can do to get the most out of them.
In order to properly maintain your solar panels, you’ll need to know what factors affect their longevity.
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 panel 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.
What Decreases Solar Panels’ Lifespan?
- Extreme weather
- Temperature changes
- High winds
- UV exposure
- Poor installation
- Manufacturing defects
- Lack of maintenance
What Is the Average Solar Panel Lifespan?
If you don’t know the average solar panel lifespan, you may be wondering if solar panels are worth it. Normally, solar panels are warrantied for about 25 to 30 years, but they can continue to produce energy at a high capacity after this point. PV panels at this age typically produce electricity at 80 percent of their initial capacity or less. In many instances, this is sufficient, but for others, the panels may no longer be economically viable and may have to be replaced with newer panels that can produce more energy at higher efficiencies.
Lifespan for Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels can last 25 to more than 50 years, thanks to the fact that they are made of one crystal, reducing potential failure points.
Lifespan for Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels can last up to 25 years, after which the efficiency can drop as electrical forces cause their crystals to separate.
Lifespan for Thin-film Solar Panels
Thin-film solar panels last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, but they can pay off faster than their silicon counterparts.
What Can I Do to Extend the Average Lifespan of My Solar Panels?
Going solar is a major investment, so you are likely wondering how to extend the solar panels’ lifespan. Here are some steps you can take to get the best return:
Conduct Regular Inspections
Regular inspections can detect early warning signs with your solar panels, so you can get problems repaired and increase the solar panel’s lifespan.
Install a Backup Battery
Solar panels often carry heavy electrical loads, which can cause stress on your panels over time. A solar battery can alleviate some of this while giving you a reserve of energy to draw from when the sun is down.
Clean Your Panels
Bird droppings can cause corrosion, reducing overall solar panel lifespan. Debris can serve as an ideal nesting area for pests, who can damage the panels. Cleaning your solar panels regularly can help to remove both potential threats while improving their overall efficiency.
What Happens to Solar Panels After Their Useful Lifespans?
Solar panels are still relatively new and long-lived, meaning there hasn’t been much solar waste relative to the amount of panels that are being created. Because of this, the fate of old solar panels is still open-ended. Many older units simply go to a landfill or remain in use after their useful lifespan is over, but this can be a problem, as older solar panel technology often contains toxic heavy metals. Some manufacturers are beginning to accept deliveries of their older panels for recycling, but there’s little public infrastructure to handle this (mostly) uneconomical activity.
Have More Questions About Solar?
The average solar panel lifespan is several decades when properly cared for, making them an excellent way to lock in long-term savings on your power bill. Las Vegas is one of the best places for generating solar energy in the country — why let that asset go to waste? If you’re considering a residential or commercial solar installation, contact Bell Solar & Electrical Systems. The renewable energy revolution is here to stay, and with our help, it can work for you, too!