Over the last century, increasing levels of carbon emission have become a source of worry. Thus, people started looking for alternative sources of energy that are sustainable while, at the same time, environmentally friendly. After a lot of research and development, solar power appears to be the best solution.
Solar energy is among the cleanest sources of renewable energy. Not only is it greener compared to coal, but it also drastically decreases the monthly utility bills. As a result, solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular choice for many.
But, before you rush to call the first solar company that pops up on the Internet, some research is advisable. Switching from a traditional energy source to a renewable one is a wise but costly investment. At one point, you may ask: “How long do solar panels last before having to replace one?” With proper care, for many decades.
Solar Panel Degradation
Solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) panels consist of solar cells that take in sunlight and transform it into electricity. Typically, each panel can contain 32, 36, 48, 60, 72, or 96 cells. Solar panels are famous for their reliability, durability, as well as productivity. Furthermore, the average lifespan of a solar panel is around 25‒30 years, and for some newer models, 40 and more.
However, it is important to say that solar panels won’t stop providing electricity after exceeding the estimated life expectancy.
Similar to other technology, solar panels naturally lose their efficiency levels over time. The reduction in power output is known as degradation. For most solar panels, the average degradation rate is below 08.% a year. With the normal degradation rate, you can calculate that after 10 years, your PV panel will keep nearly 95% of its production capacity.
How to Extend Solar Panel’s Life
As previously mentioned, solar panels are long-lasting and require little servicing. However, the degradation speed of PV modules depends on three factors: weather conditions, the manufacturer, and technology.
Harsh weather or extreme temperatures can cause panels to weaken faster than anticipated. For example, tropical locations have higher heat levels which can seriously impact the module.
Like most products, PV modules greatly differ in quality depending on the manufacturer. In addition, as solar energy gained popularity over the years, the technology used to produce the panels improved as well. Thus, we cannot compare the lifespan of solar panels made in 1985 to the ones built today.
While you cannot prevent solar panels from degrading over time, there are two ways you can help prolong their lifecycle.
Do you take your car to a mechanic for regular check-ups? The same rule should apply to solar installations. Getting your solar panels looked at by a professional can help avoid potential dangers like damaged wires or cracks. If a problem does exist, trying to fix it by yourself can create a bigger issue and, ultimately, cause a loss of warranty.
Similarly, to ensure optimal performance levels, you need to make sure your panels are free from any potentially damaging material. Giving your PV modules a thorough wash once or twice a year is recommendable. However, if you are unable to do it yourself, you can hire a professional cleaner.
Another topic worth addressing is the installation of solar panels. While it might sound like a good idea to install new PV panels on your own and save some money, it is never a good option. An incorrect setup can result in lower effectiveness or worse. Most manufacturers won’t issue a warranty unless a licensed service provider carries out the fitting.
Finding a respectable solar provider is the best first step to getting a new solar system. To help you resolve any questions or doubts about going solar, Atlantic Key Energy is always available.
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