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How Long Do Solar Panels Last? What You Need To Know!

solar panel on the garden

The industry standard for the lifespan of a solar panel is 25 to 30 years. After this lifespan is up, the solar panel will continue to work, but the output will decrease significantly. Until this point, solar panels are very durable and only require minimal care and upkeep.

Because solar panels are such a significant investment, it’s critical to know all that you can about their life expectancy. Keep reading to learn more about how long solar panels last.

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Average Lifespan of Solar Panels Explained

Most solar panel manufacturers list their solar panels lasting 25 to 30 years. Unlike a loaf of bread that goes bad after its expiration date, solar panels don’t immediately die after the 30 years are up. Instead, the life expectancy of solar panels tells you how long the solar panels will work at their expected energy production.

Solar energy
Image Credit: PhotoMIX-Company, Pixabay

As long as the solar panel is not physically damaged by debris or other external factors, you can expect the solar panel to last many decades, even past the expiration date. However, just because the solar panel is working does not mean it is working as efficiently as it could be. The lifespan gives you an estimation of how long the panels will be working efficiently.

In other words, solar panels will drop in efficiency and solar production after their life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. So, you will want to buy new solar panels at this point so that the panels are as effective as they can be.

Factors that Impact the Panel Degradation Rate

The panel degradation rate refers to the natural decrease in solar panel output through the years. On average, the output of solar panels falls by 0.8% every year. Different factors impact how quickly the output of a solar panel degrades.

Most importantly, the brand of the solar panel will impact its degradation rate. More premium brands degrade slower. SunPower, for example, has a degradation rate of 0.3%, which is lower than the average.

Similarly, various companies offer different warranties. Check out the warranties offered to help pick out the right solar panel company for you. You always want to select a company that offers a robust warranty. Many warranties can last 10 to 12 years.

solar panels on house roof
Image Credit: Pixabay

Can I Make My Solar Panels Last Longer?

Solar panels are incredibly durable and don’t require much maintenance. As a result, it’s difficult to drastically change the life expectancy of your solar panels, but there are small things you can do to help your solar panels last as long as possible.

Keep Your Panels Clean

It’s imperative to always keep your solar panels clean. If your solar panels are constantly covered in leaves, dirt, and other grime, the chances of them breaking increase. You will always want to clean off your solar panels so that they are as effective as possible.

You could also consider adding different tools to increase the cleanliness of your panels. Solar panel critter guards, for instance, are designed to keep animals from nesting underneath the panels, which will damage the wiring over time.

man wiping off the solar panels
Image Credit: Lev Kropotov, Shutterstock

Get Your Panels Services by Your Installer Routinely

Something else you can do is get your panel serviced by your installer regularly. Your installer or service provider will be able to examine your solar energy system to determine if there are potential issues that need to be rectified. Often, inspections of solar panels also involve inspections of the other equipment.

Getting your panels serviced does not necessarily increase the life expectancy of your panels, but it does help to prevent any avoidable mishaps and breakages from occurring. This can help save you some money in the long run.

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Final Thoughts

Once again, solar panels typically last between 25 and 30 years. At this point, the solar panels will not stop working outright, but their efficiency and output will decrease. This output decreases over time on its own, no matter how great of care you take of the solar panels.

Still, you should do your best to care for these solar panels properly. Make sure to keep the solar panels free from debris and get them serviced routinely. These simple steps will help to catch any mishaps or problems that may happen along the way.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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