The life expectancy of solar panels can vary depending on numerous factors, including quality and material type. As solar panels almost never have moving parts, breakdowns due to wear and tear are exceedingly rare. Instead, a solar panel’s lifespan is largely influenced by how rapidly its chemicals degrade over time.
Good quality solar panels will generally feature a long warranty, which demonstrates the manufacturer’s faith in their product. While most modern solar panels have warranties of 25-30 years, they will commonly last much longer than this. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline materials are particularly durable and often last beyond their projected service life. Expert installation, high quality panels, and preventative maintenance all go a long way in extending the lifespan of a solar panel.
What Makes Your Solar Panels Become Less Efficient?
It’s incredibly rare for a solar panel to quickly cease functioning all at once. They slowly degrade and lose efficiency over time. There are four major environmental factors that may speed up this degradation:
- Rain. High amounts of rain can cause corrosion on the panel and the frame.
- Wind. High winds may occasionally cause strong vibrations that break down the solar panel’s bonding over time.
- Heat. Long-term heat exposure eventually makes the panels more brittle, which leads to moisture retention, rapid degradation, and an eventual reduction in energy output.
- Snow. Snow build-up on panels may result in warping, cell cracks, and broken frames.
What Will Happen to My Solar Panels After 25 Years?
Your solar panel’s warranty may run out after 25 years, but this does not necessarily mean the panel will no longer function. Solar panels generally degrade at 0.5% per year on average, but some manufacturers promise degradation rates as low as 0.3% per year.
These low rates mean that most well-crafted, well-maintained solar panels will last well past their warranties, even if at slightly reduced capacity. In fact, it is not uncommon to see panels lasting decades after their warranty has expired. The world’s first solar panel is still working after 60 years, and one of Southern California’s oldest solar companies reports panels that are still functioning 40 years after installation. One 33W panel even outperformed its factory specs 30 years after its date of manufacture.
How to Extend the Life of Your System
Following best practices and conducting regular preventative maintenance will help you maintain optimal efficiency in your solar panels for as long as possible. There are several steps you can take to prolong a solar system’s lifespan.
1. Ensure Proper Installation
Utilizing solar panels from highly tested and reliable manufacturers is an important first step to ensure long term equipment viability. Proper mounting and careful wire management can drastically improve the functionality and longevity of the total system. A high-quality installation will provide securely fastened panels and protected wiring, eliminating the risk of electrical failure or other physical damage.
2. Replace Inverters
While solar panels have long lifespans, inverters require more frequent care and will need replacement after approximately 10 years. To extend the solar system’s life, be mindful of the inverters, and replace them as soon as they begin to fail.
3. Maintain Batteries
High-quality batteries will typically last 5-15 years, but poor maintenance can cause rapid failure. It is wise to inspect a solar system’s batteries several times every year and avoid letting rechargeable batteries sit idle for long periods of time.
4. Be Prepared for Loss of Efficiency
The solar panel is the most durable part of the solar power system and is likely to last well past its warranty. However, it is possible that the eventual reduction in efficiency will have a detrimental impact on your system. Rather than fully replacing the solar panel, adding equipment as needed can increase the system’s capacity.
Solar Power Installation Hardware From Nine Fasteners
At Nine Fasteners, Inc., we supply high-quality, dependable wire management clips for solar power systems to help you reliably route and protect the wires in your solar equipment. To see how we can help you install a long-lasting, durable solar panel setup, please contact us today or visit our About Us page for more information about our company.