Solar Panel Life Expectancy: A Quick Guide

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Renewable Energy, Solar Energy

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Investing in solar panels lowers your energy bills and yields long-term benefits. However, solar panel life expectancy is limited. Before purchasing solar panels, consider their longevity, durability, and any elements affecting their efficiency or efficacy.

The Solar Panel Life Expectancy

Manufacturers build solar panels to survive for decades. According to SEIA, solar panel life expectancy is 20 to 30 years. Some well-made panels may last for up to 40 years.

Though solar panels will continue working after 25 years, their power output and efficiency will decrease, making them less effective at turning the sun’s energy into electricity for your home. This decrease in efficiency is referred to as the solar panel degradation rate.

Solar Panel Degradation Rate

According to a 2015 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar panels degrade at an average rate of 0.5% yearly. This means that your energy production will be 2% lower after four years than when you first installed the panels. After 20 years, your energy production will be 10% lower than when you installed your panels.

Some solar panel manufacturers offer a power production guarantee. These provisions guarantee that their products stay within a certain production level, or the corporation will replace or repair them. Some assurances even include a return for the panels. These warranties are typically attached to high-quality solar panels with remarkable power output and efficiency rates.

Panels with the Most Extended Lifespan

High-quality solar panels last longer than cheaper alternatives. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Corporation (BNEF) classifies these as Tier One panels. The BNEF rating system categorises solar panels into Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three. However, the BNEF only defines Tier One panels, not Tier Two or Tier Three.

Manufacturers produce Tier One panels with at least five years of expertise, a solid reputation, and reliable finance. Although they are frequently the most expensive, they provide the highest power output and efficiency rating, making them an excellent investment.

Tier One includes the two most popular types of solar panels: monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

  • Monocrystalline (mono) panels have more excellent efficiency ratings and produce more power but are more expensive.
  • Polycrystalline (poly) panels are less costly yet provide lesser efficiency and output. Mono panels degrade at a slower rate because of their superior quality. Lower-efficiency poly panels lose efficiency more quickly than mono panels.

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Life Expectancy

As your panels decay, the effectiveness of your solar panel system will steadily decrease. Aside from the deterioration rate, several other elements can impact your system’s solar panel life expectancy.

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Life Expectancy

  • Local Climate and Environment

Exposure to harsh weather conditions will shorten the solar panel life expectancy. This includes severe weather like hail, high winds, and extreme temperatures. Long-term exposure to extremely high temperatures reduces a panel’s efficiency, limiting its ability to power your home adequately.

Rooftop solar panels must be mounted on sturdy racking systems. Proper installation keeps the panels from slipping or splitting, which might affect their effectiveness. Experienced solar installers will adequately secure your panels, preventing them from falling off your roof.

  • Solar Panel Quality

Investing in high-quality solar panels protects against significant deterioration and lower production. Your panels will still decay, but less dramatically than cheap solar panels. High-quality solar panels produce more power, save energy, and make a higher return on investment (ROI). These panels employ improved solar cells to capture more sunlight for energy conversion.

In summary, various factors influence solar panel life expectancy, including their quality, surroundings, and how well you maintain them. Although panel degradation is unavoidable, you can invest in high-quality panels to ensure your system lasts as long as feasible. Hiring a reputed solar contractor is recommended to provide high-quality equipment and a reliable installation.

Also Read: Average Solar Panel Cost In Florida: 2024


  • Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson is an esteemed expert in the renewable energy sector, with a profound experience spanning over 25 years. His expertise encompasses various sustainable energy solutions, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and energy efficiency practices. Michael discusses the latest trends in renewable energy and provides practical advice on energy conservation.

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