How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

lifespan of solar panels

Do you know that the average life span of solar panels is 20-25 years in Washington, DC?. However, this lifespan may decrease to a few years due to many factors. The possible factors that are responsible for decreasing the life cycle of the solar systems are manufacturing companies, installation cost and maintenance.This blog will address the solar panel lifespan and the factors that decrease the life cycle of solar panels. At the end, we will give you some tips to maximize the worth of solar systems.

Key Takeaways

  • The solar panels life cycle is between 20-25 years.
  • Climate, weather, quality, brand type and installer company are the possible factors that are responsible for any degradation in the solar system before time. Moreover, sometimes solar systems stop working due to a fault in the various parts such as batteries or inverters.
  • Proper cleaning, on-time maintenance can increase the life cycle of solar systems.

Degradation Of Solar Panels

Solar systems usually stay for 25 years. But the question is, is it the actual productive age of a solar panel? Does your solar panel produce energy as efficiently as it was made in the beginning years? The answer is no. The production rate of every solar panel gradually decreases every year. The degradation rate is 0.5% annually. Although solar panels have warranties for decades but their parts such as inverters have very short warranty.On average, solar inverters stay for 10-15 years. After this time, you can replace the inverter. The average cost to replace an inverter is about 1000$-2000$.

Brand Type and Life Expectancy of Solar Panels

Solar panel manufacturers are divided into three main types. 

  • Tire one
  • Tire two
  • Tire three

The manufacturers with more years of experience stay at the top and produce high quality solar panels with high prices. Their solar panels are first-class with a less degradation rate which is 0.30%. The other two types of manufacturers are with less experience in the market and their solar systems have a bit higher degradation rate which is 0.50% and 0.80%.The cost for the top quality solar panels is 10-30% higher than that of both others; this high amount is worth it to get more durable and life expectancy of a solar panel.

What are the Factors Impacting the Solar Panels Life Efficiency

Many factors impact the longevity and efficiency of the solar panels. It is very essential to know these factors to minimize the risk for degradation.These factors are 

  • Climate and weather
  • Quality of solar panels
  • Installation of solar system
  • Maintenance

 Let’s discuss these factors in detail.

Climate And Weather

Let’s get an idea about how long solar panels last in extreme weather conditions? Solar panels can easily start reducing production capacity in extreme hot weather. Although heat is suitable for producing more energy, excess heat causes the breakage of the panels and gradually reduces efficiency. Some other weather conditions, such as hail, storms, and strong winds, also damage the solar system and its parts, ultimately decreasing the lifespan of the solar system.

Quality of the Solar Panels

How long do solar panels last with bad quality? What do you expect by spending money on a poor-quality system? Quality matters a lot for the longer life cycle of the solar system. Many manufacturers are working in the solar panel field. As we have mentioned the three tire manufacturers, you can easily choose the best one with good quality.

Installation

Installation of the solar panels with a sound installation company is a guarantee that your system is installed correctly and will stay long. Reputable installation companies offer roofing services within the installation packages. The purpose of the roofing is to maintain your roof to hold the system precisely so that it does not destroy in extreme weather conditions and works properly on sunny days. So, always hire a company with a good portfolio and a history of successful installations. It prevents you from repairing costs and enhances the life cycle of your solar system.

Maintenance of the Solar System

How long does a solar panel last without proper maintenance? It will not last for long. Maintenance of the system is essential periodically. The debris, pollutants from the wind, and pollen spores usually accumulate on the system panels. They not only cause a hindrance to the sun, but they also become a root cause for the early degradation of the system. These pollutants cause scratches, which cause breakage of the panels, ultimately leading to degradation. So, the maintenance of the solar panel is essential for a long-lasting period. Many installation companies offer repair and maintenance services. So, it is recommended that you clean your system yourself on a monthly basis and arrange annual inspections with the experts of installation companies to enhance their working capacity.

Tips And Tricks To Maximize the Solar Panels LifeSpan

Following a few tips, you can increase the working efficiency and the life cycle of your solar panel. These tips are as follows.

  • Solar panels require little maintenance. So daily inspections and cleaning are necessary.
  • Avail annual inspections from industry experts. Many installation companies offer operations and maintenance contracts that include the yearly checkup for your system, battery, wiring components, and inverter. The purpose of these contracts is to inspect your whole system quickly, and they alert you about any vegetation, rocks, or other maintenance required.
  • Avail virtual monitoring. It is a software that many companies offer with an operation and maintenance package. They monitor your system regularly, and the software sends you alerts about decreases in efficiency, especially after stormy and windy days. This will help you handle any fault in a timely manner to prevent a significant loss. 

When to Replace a Solar Panel?

Solar panels stay for years. Many manufacturers give a warranty of more than 25 years. But in some cases, the efficiency of the systems is affected by various factors, and the production remains lower than your daily usage of electricity even during the warranty period. These are sporadic cases. But If this happens, then it’s time to replace your solar panel. If you observe any decrease in the working capacity of the solar panel, then it’s better to save some dollars for future investments.

Conclusion

How long does solar panels last?. The answer to this question is 25 years. However, there are some factors that increase the degradation rate and destroy solar panels within the warranty period. These factors are climate, weather, quality, and manufacturer and installation company charges. You can increase the life cycle of solar systems by regular monitoring, checking working efficiency, proper cleaning and on-time maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

25 years is an average time period for the healthy life of solar panels.if the solar panels efficiency decreases in this period then it may be due to the faults in its various parts such as inverter and batteries.The inverters can stay for ten years only. After this period, you have to replace your inverter. The average cost to replace the inverter in Washington is 10,000$.

Various factors that affect the solar panels cost are

  • Weather, climate
  • Quality, brand type
  • Installation cost
  • Maintenance

Solar systems are long-lasting investments. They stay for years. But sometimes, the solar system starts degrading due to various factors that affect its production rate. If the solar system produces less energy than your home’s daily usage, then it’s time to replace your solar system.

You can increase longevity by daily monitoring and inspection. For this, check the production of the solar systems regularly.you can check the production through virtual monitoring. Various online apps and software are available that can send you signals in case your panels are low in efficiency. Lower efficiency indicates that your system needs maintenance or cleaning. Proper cleaning and on-time maintenance enhance the life cycle of solar systems.You can also take the services of any installation company for the annual inspections.They thoroughly monitor the system and warn you about any required maintenance.

Jackson Brown

I am Jackson Brown. I am a lecturer turned solar expert, I am fond of traveling and a good chef.