How to Tell If You Need to Replace Solar Panels

How to Tell If You Need to Replace Solar Panels

Solar panels are an ecologically and financially smart upgrade to your home or business. Having a solar energy system is one great way to reduce your energy bill and save a bit of money.

But just like any major improvement to your property, solar panels will require maintenance, repairs, or even replacement. It is common to replace solar panels, although replacement is typically infrequent. There are many reasons that solar panels will require replacement, including weather damage, reduced energy output, or just an overall upgrade. 

What Is The Average Lifespan of Solar Panels?

Solar panels are actually a very long-term investment. Typically, solar panels last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. However, with regular care, cleaning, and maintenance some solar panels can last up to 40 years. In general, most solar panels come with a 20-year warranty. This is why it is very important to have a licensed solar technician inspect them on a regular basis and assess whether you need to replace or upgrade solar panels.

How to Decipher If It’s Time to Replace Solar Panels

It’s important for you to take a visual assessment of your solar panels from time to time. If you need any advice on whether you need solar panel repair, you can always call your solar provider. There are some key things that you’ll need to look for.

Age

Again, solar panels are designed to be able to last 20 to 30 years. If your 20 year old panels look like they are in great shape, but aren’t producing quite as much power as they used to, they may be at the end of their lifespan. If you are unsure about the age of your solar panels you can always find a solar technician who can give you an age estimate and advise you on your next steps. 

Output And Performance

On average, solar cells that are 20 years old may begin to perform at 90% of their previous electrical output. As mentioned, this decrease in energy output could be the initial indication that something is wrong with your solar panels. But, you might not know for sure if your solar panels are performing as well as they should. If you are seemingly paying more for electricity than you used to, you’ll need to have your solar energy output examined. If your panels are performing at a lower rate, it is time to replace solar panels.

Physical Damage

Fly balls, strong storms, and falling trees can all cause major damage to your solar panels. Any cracks or bending on a frame of a panel is especially troublesome. When this happens your solar cells run the risk of becoming water damaged, rendering them useless. Call a licensed solar company to get an estimate for solar panel replacement as soon as you notice any glass or structural damage. Any time your roof is damaged, you should also have your solar panels inspected.

Low-Quality Panels

Unfortunately, some solar companies have provided their clients with low-quality or even fake solar panels. This will of course cause your electric output to be much lower than your solar company promised it to be. If your solar panels are relatively young and not producing as much energy as they should be, it’s a good idea to have another solar company check for solar panel quality.

Discolored Surfaces

Sometimes physical damage can be harder to determine. Some solar panels seem to be still sealed properly and show no other signs of damage, yet have developed a strangely colored tint. This unfortunately is an indication that debris, water, or some other contaminant has gotten inside your solar panel. This type of damage will affect the efficiency of your energy output, so it’s best to replace solar panels that have become discolored.

Broken or Cracked Glass

Windstorms or heavy rain can cause damage to the glass of your solar panels. During winter months, sleet or hale has also been known to crack glass. This type of hard weather has been known to cause water damage to your panels. Your first indication that something is wrong may be noticing some glass on the ground at your property that could only have come from the solar panels on your roof. Be sure to check for any cracks or damage on your roof after particularly bad storms.

Other Solar Components Fail

Perhaps you are noticing a reduction in your solar power output but your solar panels look great with no noticeable damage. Well, it’s very possible that other components of your solar power system may be the issue. Power inverters and battery storage do not have the same long lifespans as solar panels. Instead, inverters should be changed around every 10 years. Batteries must be changed much sooner. If your solar panels are undamaged, you should have the rest of your solar power system inspected and replace components as needed.

Do You Need a Solar System Upgrade?

You know how valuable it is to have a solar power system in your home or business. There comes a time when you may consider an upgrade. This can be for several reasons, including improving your electrical output or updating an old system. If your solar panels were installed over a decade ago, you may need to update your system to follow current safety protocols. Perhaps your panels are working great, but you now have the funds to expand with more solar cells. In either case, you can reach out to a solar panel installer like us to find out how to upgrade your solar system.

Looking to Replace Solar Panels? Contact Us For a Free Quote!

When you are looking for a solar panel installer in Las Vegas, we hope you’ll consider Bell Electrical Systems first. We are your hometown solar installation and full electrician service. We’d love to partner with you to bring the power of solar energy to your home or business. Please give our staff a call today to set up an appointment for a free quote.