Solar panel companies invest a lot into making sure that their products are durable. This is something that most homeowners would want to know before making the decision to purchase a solar panel and have them installed on their property. Just like any other home appliances, solar panels will inevitably age over time and deteriorate in efficiency. And although these devices will offset your electricity bill for decades, it is important to understand how long it will be before you start making plans of investing in a new panel.
What is the shelf-life of residential solar panels?
Industry studies have shown that solar panels will last anywhere from 25 to 30 years. This should however not be misconstrued to mean your panel will suddenly stop working after this duration. It only means that energy output of the panel will have declined below what manufacturers consider to be the optimal energy production. If anything, your solar panel will continue serving you beyond the 30 years, considering that panels don’t get physically damaged by external factors such as wind. Thanks to their lack of moving parts, panels will only get damaged by issues such as adverse weather or a poor racking system.
According to a study by the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), the average energy production of a solar panel will reduce by 0.8% annually. However, this drop of output may vary depending on the brand of solar panel you are using. Top brands such as SunPower have a high efficiency and offer degradation rates that are as low as 0.3%. This means that after 25 years of use, the energy output will still be just above 85%.
What causes solar power degradation?
Crystalline silicon particles that can be found in extreme weather are a cause for high rates of degradation. Panels also suffer the brunt when exposed to heavy winds and loads of snow. When you consider high-temperature conditions, solar panels exhibit a higher rate of decline, as much as 1% per year. This is because of the prolonged exposure to UV rays.
How can you make your panel last longer?
One of the best ways of ensuring your solar panel will continue serving you longer than predicted is to partner with a trustworthy solar provider. A well-respected solar company will provide you with efficient installation and solid customer service, as well as guide you through the various maintenance methods to keep your panel in top shape. You also want to keep your panel free from debris, thick snow, and other extreme elements. When your panel is devoid of all these things, it is in the perfect condition to generate the highest energy output possible. Be sure to regularly clean your panels when leaves, branches, bird droppings, dust, and other unwanted particles fall on them. If need be, contact your solar provider for professional assistance. Finally, it is crucial that you get a solar expert to monitor and perform maintenance activities on your solar panel every once in a while. This will guarantee that meters and other parts are working at optimal efficiency.