Many people are installing solar panels on their property to provide electricity. Doing so may improve your environmental footprint and could also lower your utility bills. That said, solar panels are expensive and you’ll want to consider how long they’ll last before needing to be replaced.
So how long can solar panels last? Right now, solar panels should enjoy a lifespan of around 25 to 30 years or more. However, many different factors can impact the lifespan of solar panels. You’ll want to consider your specific situation when projecting how long the panels might last.
Sunlight Will Slowly Wear Your Solar Panel Out
Weather conditions and exposure to ultra-violet radiation rank among the biggest factors in determining how long your solar panels will last. First, lots of sunlight is great for solar panels, as it allows them to produce more electricity. This means you may save more money when it comes time to pay your electricity bill.
However, exposure to ultraviolet radiation will slowly wear the solar panels down. The more something is used, the more it’ll wear down. If you wear your favorite sweater on a frequent basis, it’ll slowly be worn thin. Likewise, a flowing river can carve a canyon if given enough time.
When ultraviolet radiation hits a solar panel, the panel gets to work, converting the solar energy into electricity. This means all the components of the solar panel must get to work as well. Over time, users will wear the solar panel and its many components out.
Other Factors That Can Impact Solar Panel Longevity
Solar energy isn’t the only thing that will wear solar panels out. Weather is another major factor that can shorten the lifespan of your panels. Rain is a powerful force and slowly, over time, rain can wear a mountain down. Lots of rain can wear out and damage solar panels.
Wind could knock branches and leaves onto the solar panels. This could result in damage. If solar panels are damaged, it could quickly shorten their lifespan. Snow and freezing temperatures too could affect the equipment over time. Cold weather, for example, causes metal to contract, while hot weather causes metal to expand. Expanding and contracting could wear out the metal components in the solar panels.
What Happens To Solar Panels As They Age?
Generally speaking, solar panels won’t simply stop working once they reach a certain age. Your solar panels won’t turn 30 and then shut off. Instead, the panels will slowly lose efficiency over time and as a result, they will produce less electricity. As the panels produce less energy, you may see your electricity bills rise in step.
Modern solar panels degrade at about .5 percent per year. Keep in mind that this is an average, and some solar panels may degrade more slowly or more quickly. Fortunately, as solar panel tech improves, many are lasting longer and degrading less.
How Can I Extend the Lifespan of Solar Panels?
Regular maintenance and upkeep will help your solar panels last longer. You should clean the panels, removing debris, from time to time. You may also need to replace inverters. It’s often recommended that inverters be replaced every 10 or so years. It’s also wise to replace the batteries on a regular basis.
Sound like a lot of work? Fortunately, you can hire solar energy experts who can provide maintenance. If they notice something is wrong, they can inform you and offer recommended next steps. This way, you can keep your solar panels in great condition, producing electricity now and for years to come.