What if you could revolutionize how you use energy?
We are currently in the midst of a solar power revolution. In fact, there has never been a better time to make the switch to solar.
However, some people hesitate because they still have questions. For example, how long do solar panels last?
Keep reading to learn the answer and discover how to maximize your energy investment!
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
Let’s start with the big question. How long do solar panels last? Typically, you’ll get about 25-30 years out of a solar panel.
In terms of major investments, that’s not bad. For example, if your panel is on top of an asphalt shingle roof, you’d probably need to replace the roof before you need to replace the panel.
What is interesting about replacing solar panels is that you don’t generally replace them due to wear and tear. Instead, you replace them due to steadily decreasing efficiency.
We’ve got the details below that will help you get the most out of each solar panel.
Understanding the Math
As we said, most solar panels don’t receive much physical damage over the years. In fact, unless you suffer from seriously inclement weather, your solar panel should physically last far longer than the 25-30 year estimate.
Why, then, do you need to replace them after that time? Simply put, your solar panel gets a little less efficient each year.
By the time the 25-30 years have passed, it’s in your best interest to get a new panel altogether. Otherwise, the efficiency may drop so low that solar power is no longer a good alternative for your energy needs.
Of course, that 25-30 years is just an estimate. By understanding how the efficiency degrades, you can decide whether you want to replace your panel any earlier than that.
Once you learn that a solar panel degrades in efficiency each year, you’re probably wondering what the degradation rate is. On average, solar panels lose 0.8 percent efficiency each year.
By itself, that may not sound so bad. But you must consider that degradation multiplied over the years.
When 30 years have passed, your energy efficiency will have degraded by an average of 24%. And other external factors can make the loss of efficiency even worse.
By replacing solar panels on a regular schedule, you can keep a high level of energy efficiency to power all your home needs.
What Makes Panels Less Efficient?
Now you know that solar power degradation is basically inevitable. So, what causes this loss of efficiency over the years? In a word, the weather!
Rain, for instance, can damage metal framing over time and also corrode any panels that haven’t been installed correctly. Conversely, professional installation can minimize the damage the rain will have over the years.
For most homes in most cities, you don’t have to worry too much about the wind. But if you live in a really windy area, that wind can cause vibrations that damage your solar panels. In extreme cases, it could destroy your panel altogether.
Heat and humidity are basically a tag team when it comes to lowering solar panel efficiency. Basically, high heat can make the panel brittle, and a brittle panel is more susceptible to moisture. While a really brittle panel may receive more physical damage, the likelier outcome is the moisture lowering your energy output.
In its own way, snow can have many of the same effects on your solar panel that heat does. At low enough temperatures, your solar panel will warp and crack. At that point, moisture may enter and start affecting your energy efficiency.
Remember, that 0.8% estimate from before is simply an average. If you live in an area with extreme heat, humidity, wind, or snow, your panels may be degrading quicker than the average.
Making Panels Last Longer
You now know that extreme weather can effectively reduce the lifespan of your solar panels. How, then, can you make your panels last longer?
The best thing you can do for your panels is having them professionally installed in the first place. A professional installation, for example, can help protect your panel from serious rain damage in the coming decades.
Additionally, a good professional will find the best possible location for your panel. This can help you get the most energy from the panel while also keeping it safe from the worst of the heat and wind.
Beyond that, the best thing you can do for your panel is regular maintenance and cleaning.
Some homeowners get a little nervous about performing maintenance on the solar panel. They worry that they might damage the panel and seriously hurt their energy investment.
The good news is that solar panels are pretty simple once they are installed. There are no moving parts or really delicate bits you have to worry about damaging. Cleaning your panel from time to time is no more difficult or dangerous than cleaning your roof.
Regular cleaning also gives you a chance to visually inspect the panel. If it turns out your solar panel has been damaged by the elements, a regular maintenance routine will help you notice the damage and call for professional help.
Why should you call a professional if you’re worried about your panel? Because a professional can offer you some serious peace of mind.
Unless you install and maintain solar panels for a living, you may not be able to properly diagnose panel damage or understand when a panel is in a bad location. And that means you might be losing a lot of energy efficiency each year without knowing it.
Professionals can help with installation, inspection, and maintenance over the years. They’ll get it installed right the first time and make sure you get decades of efficient use out of your energy investment.
Your Next Move
Now you have an answer to “how long do solar panels last.” But do you know who can help increase your solar panel lifespan?
We’re here to serve all of the solar needs of your community. To see what we can do for your home or business, contact us today!