With the advancement of technology and increasing environmental consciousness, solar power has emerged as a popular renewable energy source. However, a primary concern for individuals contemplating the transition to solar power revolves around the lifespan of solar systems. In this blog, we will discuss the lifespan of solar panels and the steps you can take to ensure they last longer.
Solar panels possess an impressive lifespan. Typically, manufacturers provide a performance warranty that lasts around 25 years. However, this does not indicate that the panels will cease functioning after this period. On the contrary, many solar panels continue to operate, producing a substantial amount of energy well beyond the warranty period, often for 30 to 40 years. It’s worth noting that while the efficiency of solar panels might experience a slight decline over time, they don’t stop working completely.
To better comprehend the lifespan of solar panels, it’s important to understand how they work. Solar panels capitalise on the photovoltaic effect to transform sunlight into electricity. Solar cells, predominantly composed of silicon, generate electricity when exposed to sunlight.
Over time, constant exposure to environmental elements can lead to wear and tear, resulting in a marginal decrease in efficiency. This is referred to as the degradation rate. Fortunately, modern solar panels exhibit a relatively low degradation rate of about 0.3% to 0.5% per year. This implies they are capable of generating a significant amount of electricity even after 25 years or more.
The lifespan of solar panels can be influenced by various factors, including:
The lifespan of solar panels is highly dependent on the quality of materials used in their construction. Panels manufactured from superior-quality materials tend to last longer due to their enhanced resistance to weather impacts and degradation. It’s also important to note that the type of solar cells utilised in the panel’s construction—monocrystalline, polycrystalline or thin-film—can also impact its longevity.
Solar panels are built to withstand a wide range of conditions, from scorching heat to freezing temperatures. However, extreme weather events like hailstorms and excessive heat can cause physical damage to the panels or affect their overall performance. For instance, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can accelerate the degradation rate of solar panels.
The role of maintenance in extending the lifespan of solar panels cannot be emphasised enough. Additionally, prompt repair or replacement of damaged parts can significantly enhance a solar panel’s lifespan.
The installation process is another important factor affecting a solar panel’s lifespan. Secure mounting, optimal positioning for maximum sun exposure and correct wiring all contribute to the longevity of solar panels.
This might seem like a simple step, but its importance cannot be overstated. Dirt, dust and bird droppings can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, reducing their efficiency. Regular cleaning helps to maintain their performance, ultimately extending their lifespan.
Regular check-ups by professionals can help identify potential issues at an early stage, thereby safeguarding the panels from potential damage. It also ensures that the system operates at peak performance, which is vital for maximising its lifespan.
Solar panels work optimally when they’re exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Shaded panels can experience hot spots, which can damage the solar cells and reduce their lifespan. Therefore, it’s important to install solar panels in a location that receives ample sunlight and manages any potential shading caused by trees or nearby structures.
Keeping a close eye on the energy generation of your solar system is important. Any significant drop in performance could indicate an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Modern solar systems often come with monitoring software that allows you to track the system’s performance in real time, making it easier to identify and address any problems.
At times, the longevity and performance of your solar panels can be enhanced not just by effective maintenance but also through strategic upgrades and retrofits. This process essentially involves incorporating modern technologies into your existing solar system, giving it a new lease on life.
If you’re considering making the switch to solar or wish to learn more about maintaining your existing system, the team at Apollo Solar is ready to assist. We incorporate the latest solar technology to help you maximise your energy benefits. Our robust panels come with a reassuring 15 or 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. We also offer an array of easy financing options for your convenience. To explore our services or to request a competitive quote, get in touch with us today.