Solar panels are an excellent option for households to lower their carbon impact. Fortunately, solar panels have a long lifespan. They can produce electricity for many years, giving you a good return on investment. So exactly how long do solar panels actually last?
Most photovoltaic solar panels will endure for at least 25 years before they start to degrade. For the projected life expectancy of the solar panels, most solar panel producers will issue a standard 25-year warranty. They may not need to be replaced after 25 years, but their ability to collect sunlight will be reduced.
What is ‘solar panel degradation rate’?
Due to factors such as hotter weather and a natural decrease in chemical potency within the panel, solar panels lose their capacity to collect sunlight and convert it into solar energy over time. The degradation rate is the term used to describe this. The lower the degradation rate, the better the panel. A solar panel that degrades at a slower rate produces more energy over its lifetime. The rate of degradation varies by brand; higher-quality panels degrade at a slower rate than lower-quality panels. This is crucial to remember when comparing solar panels since it may make more sense to spend more money on higher-quality panels in the long run.
The worst degradation rate is .80% a year, but as a benchmark, you can expect an average degradation rate of .50% a year for any panel.
Do they ever go bad?
Solar panels, on the other hand, have no expiration date. They do, however, grow less efficient at producing energy as time goes on.
Physical damage from harsh weather conditions may also cause certain panels to break. For example, they can develop microcracks that eventually break the entire panel if they are exposed to extreme cold, recurrent hail storms, or physical harm from falling debris.
Solar panels can be weakened by sudden temperature changes. This happens because the materials used to produce them, such as solar cells and metals, compress and expand. Water damage can also develop as a result of the seal that protects the panels from water degradation eroding.
When to consider them?
If your energy cost starts to rise again after the 25-year term, it could be because your solar energy system isn’t working properly. In the case that this occurs, you may need to purchase.
Many solar businesses provide apps or physical trackers that allow you to track your solar electricity generation on a monthly or even daily basis. Knowing the normal quantity of energy output from your panels will aid you in detecting any anomalies.
For example, if your solar panels produce 35 kWh of clean electricity per week and you observe that this has decreased over time to 32 kWh, then 30 kWh – and there is no visible debris or increased shade cover over your roof – this could signal that degradation has begun.
It’s time to replace your panels when they’re no longer providing the amount of electricity your home requires.