With utility bills rising and the climate crisis worsening, many people are thinking of switching to solar energy. However, the cost of going solar is not small, which makes many homeowners wonder whether it is truly worth it. How long do solar panels last for, and are they really a good investment in the long run?
From manufacturing quality to injuries and degradation rates, here are the factors that affect solar panel durability.
The Solar Panel Lifespan
At first glance, our starting question might seem fairly simple. However, the answer to it is anything but. Generally speaking, solar systems usually last somewhere between 25 and 30 years. But that doesn’t mean they simply stop working after 3 decades pass.
In fact, panels continue to produce energy long after crossing this mark, at least for two decades. However, the amount of energy they produce becomes significantly lower.
To be precise, it decreases so much that the panels can no longer save any money. So, keeping them becomes less affordable than using electricity from the grid. Thus, though the panels may still be functional after 30 years, their performance declines.
Solar Panel Degradation Rate
To determine how long a solar system can last, experts have devised a measure for the panels’ lifespan. It is known as a solar panel’s degradation rate.
According to a 2012 study, the output of a solar panel falls by 0.8% every year. At first glance, this number might not seem significant. For example, after 10 years, the panels’ efficiency only decreases by 8%, which is not too much.
However, after 25 years, the figures become notably different. At that point, the panels are 20% less efficient, and after 30 years, they produce 24% less power. This number is significant and means that the panels won’t be able to produce enough energy to power a home.
Still, not everything is up to fate. Namely, a panel’s degradation rate also depends on its manufacturer. Companies that use premium-quality materials and new installation technologies can achieve an annual output fall as low as 0.3%. That is notably lower than the national average, meaning that such panels can last even longer.
For this reason, it is imperative to find a reliable solar provider. Doing so ensures that homeowners get the most efficient solar system for their money.
In Case of Panel Injuries
Of course, solar panels cannot last for over 30 years if they sustain physical injuries. These include damage induced by weather conditions, falling tree branches, and any catastrophes that might happen.
Still, such injuries are not a problem if you pick a good solar provider, as most reputable companies ensure that their panels are durable. Therefore, rain, hale, or snow can seldom truly damage them, no matter how heavy they might be.
Is There Anything You Can Do?
Many people wonder if there is anything they can do to ensure their panels last longer. The answer is: yes.
For one, you must schedule panel inspections at least once every few years. Solar technicians can check if everything is running smoothly and do any necessary repairs.
In addition, you can try your best to keep your panels clean from snow, dirt, and debris. That way, no external source is able to shorten their lifespan. Clean and debris-free, they work more efficiently, which results in creating more energy.
To Sum Up
Solar panels can last for at least 30 years if you choose to work with a reputable provider. In addition, you should do your part in taking care of the panels by keeping them clean and scheduling regular inspections. Hopefully, the panel lifespan only continues to increase as the industry develops.