How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

How long do solar panels last

How long do solar panels last

Introduction to Solar Panels

Solar panels are a great investment if you plan on using solar energy to power various sources around your property. The problem is that people are not sure how long a solar panel can last before it requires some form of maintenance or replacement. We are going to discuss the concept of wear on solar panels and try and express the average lifespan of a traditional solar panel.

There are a lot of different factors to consider before you will have a real good idea on how long a certain type of solar panel will last. We are going to take a little bit of closer look at this subject in the next section.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

We are about to explore the possible lifespan for an average solar panel installation. The average solar panel should be able to operate for more than two or three decades without needing to be replaced. A lot of this depends on the design of the solar panel and how much it decreased in energy-efficiency per year.

Reliability and Degradation

Solar panel degradation is the rate at which your solar panel deteriorates in energy storage per year. Most solar panels degrade somewhere between 0.25% and 1.00% per year over the course of their life on average. This means that after several decades, your solar panel will have lost anywhere between 5% and 20% of its overall efficiency. According to Jordan Showers of Smart Solar Energy, even after 30 years, todays solar panels will still be able to produce electricity at 80% of their starting value. 

A lot of solar panel installations are sold with long-term warranties that last around 25 Years or even 30 Years in some cases. The reliability of solar panels is actually really good and oftentimes it is even better than you might expect. These are only some of the reasons that solar panels are becoming so popular.

Will Routine Maintenance Extend the Life of a Solar Panel?

You might start wondering about the required maintenance that must be performed on solar panels to keep them performing at an optimal level. Cleaning the solar panels is extremely important to ensuring that they last for long periods of time. You also want to make sure that solar panels are protected from harsh weather conditions like wind.

You don’t want your installed solar panels getting harmed by materials like Dirt, Rocks, or Debris. Routine maintenance will ensure that your solar panel remains in suitable condition to operate as planned. There are several solar providers that can help you to perform maintenance on a regular time schedule. This is one of the best ways to lengthen the lifespan of your solar panel installation.

Does a Solar Panel Investment Make Sense Long Term?

Now that we have an understanding of how long a solar panel is expected to last, you might start wondering about the investment that is required to install solar panels for the longer term. Some regions are exposed to a lot of sunlight during the year and it could potentially make sense to commit to installing solar panels as an investment.

You really have to be committed to the investment of solar panels by making sure they are taken care of in the proper ways. Maintenance and regular check-ups will be required if you want to avoid unexpected solar panel failures a few years into the future.

To determine if a solar panel installation makes sense, you will also need to balance out the costs with the expected degradation rate. You can then start factoring in the federal tax credits and other projected energy savings to see how much you could potentially save in the long run from a durable solar panel installation.

Can Solar Panels Last for 50 Years?

One significant milestone that will likely be achieved in the near-future is the ability to have an energy-efficient solar panel last for at least 50 Years before requiring a replacement. Solar panel technology is still relatively new in modern terms and there are still several new possible ways for inventors to expand the current lifespan of a solar panel.

Many of the most popular modern solar panels loose some of their efficiency after 20 or 30 Years. If you are extremely lucky, then you might have a current solar panel last for up to 50 Years. You would have to take really outstandingly good care of your solar installation and have a lot of luck on your side for that to happen.

The goal within the solar energy sector is to one day create solar panels that have a life expectancy of 50 Years or longer. That is an extremely lofty goal that can be achieved in the next several years if the right technology is developed. This would still require consistent maintenance because five decades is an incredibly long time and just about every object is vulnerable to some wear and tear in such a long time frame.

What Needs to Happen to Increase the Solar Panel Lifespan?

There are currently a few things that prevent modern solar panels from lasting for an unlimited amount of time. The first issue is the concept of solar panel degradation that we previously mentioned. Solar panels naturally loose their ability to operate efficiently over the course of time. The second problem is that devices like solar panels are vulnerable to durability issues the longer that they operate.

The final issue is that a lot of people don’t have the time or money to perform regular maintenance on their solar panels. One way to fix this final issue is to find a way to develop an ultra-reliable solar panel that doesn’t require any maintenance. This problem is nearly impossible to solve because there is virtually no way to guarantee that a solar panel remains isolated and protected for five decades.

Final Summary 

We are now going to summarize all of the important topics that we have mentioned about solar panels. We have already discussed the expected lifespan for a traditional solar panel. We have also explored the expected maintenance that will need to be performed to ensure that your solar panels remain in optimal condition.

The following list provides several important details that should be remembered before investing in a long-term solar panel installation. These reminders could be crucial for potential solar panel customers that aren’t sure about all of the deeper details that aren’t well-known by the public.

Solar Panel Information

  • Modern Solar Panels are Expected to Last for Two or Three Decades (20 – 30 Years).
  • Solar Panels will Likely Require Maintenance and Protection from Harsh Conditions.
  • Solar Panels are an Expensive Up-Front Investment but can Save Money in the Long Run (25-30 years).
  • Solar Panels Typically Lose Energy Efficiency Over Time (0.25% – 1.00% Per Year).
  • Solar Panels will Likely Double in Life Expectancy within the Next Decade if not sooner.