How Durable Are Solar Panels
Although the solar panel itself is fragile the glass surrounding it is very durable. Solar panels are surrounded by tempered glass supported by metal.
The keyword here is TEMPERED.
Any reputable solar company will use tempered glass by default. The other option is a FLAT PLATE GLASS which is far cheaper and much less durable. If a solar company shows you a quote that makes your head scratch in comparison to competitors, check the panel manufacturer, and be sure that the glass is in fact tempered.
A solar system is designed to withstand almost all weather conditions nationwide. The solar panels and system, in general, can withstand 90 plus MPH winds, golf ball-sized hail, small tree branches, and most athletics balls that are used around the system.
Reports have been made of solar customers who have portions of their roofs covered in solar panels, and go through a hail storm with their panels coming out fine. However, the shingles on the non-solar parts of the roof had to be replaced!
Get Your Solar System Inspected
Regular inspection of your solar energy system can reveal potential issues like loose racking, exposed wires and an aging or failing solar inverter. Make sure a professional performs the check-up because you can void your panel warranty if you end up scratching or otherwise damaging the panels on your roof.
How Do These Types Of Solar Panels Compare
So how do these different styles compare? In terms of efficiency, there is only a slight difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are slightly more efficient, usually coming in at about 18-20% where polycrystalline usually has about 15-17% efficiency. Monocrystalline also performs slightly better than polycrystalline in shady and high-temperature conditions.
Youre probably wondering why everyone doesnt just choose monocrystalline panels. Its the cost. Polycrystalline is cheaper to produce and thus cheaper for consumers. If youre installing a smaller system, then it may be more cost-effective to purchase polycrystalline, even if you have to purchase more panels to get the equivalent amount of power.
On the other hand, if youre installing a large system and want to save space you may want to choose monocrystalline because you get more power per square foot. Plus, having fewer panels could save you money on installation and extra accessories, so it really depends on your situation.
Flexible panels are a bit different in that their efficiency varies a lot based on the manufacturer. Even just a few years ago the best efficiency you could expect out of a flexible solar panel was about 10%, but that has greatly improved. There are some companies that offer flexible panels that have up to 24% efficiency! Thats quite an improvement, but there are still some flexible panels that are only 10% efficient, so be sure to read the fine print.
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Keep Your Panels Clear Of Debris And Other Damaging Materials
When you first install your solar panels, your installer will make sure that there are no large trees that could cast a shade or drop branches on your panels. As long as you can avoid physical damage to your solar panels, they will continue to produce energy for many years, possibly far beyond the 25 to 30 year lifetime of typical solar panels. You can even buy specialty products to prevent specific types of physical damage to your panels. For example, solar panel critter guards can keep animals like squirrels and birds from nesting under your panels, which can cause panel and wire damage over time.
What Is The Shelf
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 dont 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.
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Finding A Sustainable Solar Solution For Your Home Is Easy
Going solar is an investment in the earths future that can also save you money by reducing your monthly electric bills. By thoroughly researching solar equipment manufacturers and working with solar installer that offers the products you want, you can ensure that your solar panel system is as sustainable as possible. Compare solar quotes side-by-side the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to find the right combination of sustainable products, easy financing options, and a well-reviewed installer for your homes renewable energy needs. All of our installers are qualified and pre-vetted so you can have the peace of mind that you are working with a licensed solar professional.
How To Improve Solar Panel Efficiency
- Have your solar panel installed by a professional.
- Pay attention to the orientation and tilt of solar panels to ensure maximum sun exposure.
- Make sure the solar panels are not shadedby trees or other obstructions.
- Use cooling systems to decrease temperature so energy output increases.
- Reduce the amount of light reflection by using an anti-reflective coating.
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Heres What That Means For Your Roi
Thats good news if your main concern is making a positive return on investment on your system.
Most online calculators that estimate solar savings base the calculation on a 25-year warranty period. Any extra mileage you get from your panels is an added bonus.
Is solar a smart investment? Use our Solar ROI Calculator to estimate your payback period how long it will take for tax incentives and energy bill savings to pay for the upfront cost of your system.
We cant guarantee panels will outlive their warranty . But in reality, most panels keep producing at reduced capacity long after their lifespan should be up. This is because solar panels dont have any moving parts, and therefore tend to be extremely reliable.
If your solar system is paid off and your panels keep producing, your ROI will stretch far beyond the estimate provided to you by any online calculators .
Want to give your panels the best chance to outlast their warranty? A little effort goes a long way to keeping your system running smoothly.
How Long Do Solar Panels Really Last
Not all solar panels are created equal. Good, we got that out of the way early.
Different manufacturers, materials, technologies, and applications can mean sizable changes in the amount of energy your solar power system can produce over its usable lifetime. Generally speaking, solar panels will last on average, about 25 years though there are a variety of factors that contribute to their overall power production and degradation. If you are considering investing in a solar power system for your home or business, it is essential that you have a clear estimate of the amount of energy youll be able to generate year after year. Depending on your situation, it may make more financial sense to invest in a high-efficiency solution that delivers more energy savings over the long-term.
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Ner With A Reputable Solar Installer
When youre out checking your solar panels, you might notice that one of them is slightly loose from heavy wind, rains, or other factors. This is one reason why its important to use a reputable solar installer that offers a warranty on the work that they do. Youll want to be able to contact your solar installer so that they can come and check in on your panels and ensure that everything is secure and working correctly.
Working with the right solar installer will help to ensure that youre well taken care of throughout the lifetime of your solar panels. Thats the customer service youll receive when you choose to invest in solar panels through Sun Badger.
The Lifespan Of Solar Panels
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, are made to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s are still working at expected capacity.1 Not only are solar panels remarkably reliable, solar panel longevity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years.2 In addition to decades of effective performance, many solar manufacturers back their products with performance guarantees in their warranties.1
Keep in mind that expected solar panel life expectancy doesnt mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades. It just means their energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average American familys energy needs.
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The 1950s And The 1960s
The solar panel as we know it today was invented in 1954 by D.M. Chapin, C.S. Fuller, and G.L. Pearson of Bell Laboratory. Chapin, Fuller, and Pearson used silicon to make a stable and reliable power source with 4% efficiency.1 The first silicon commercial solar cell was released by Hoffman Electronics only a year later. It sold for $25 per cell and had only a 2% efficiency.2 And because each of these commercial cells produced only a small number of milliwatts, the cost was over $1,785 per watt in 1955. With inflation, that would be over $16,000 per watt in 2017a tough sell compared to the $4 per watt for solar systems today.
In the post-war boom of the 1950s, solar technology advanced rapidly. The applications for solar panels in space made them especially attractive, and just before 1960, Hoffman Electronics managed to increase commercial solar panel efficiency to around 10%.3 The company continued to improve solar efficiency, achieving 14% efficiency in 1960.4
When To Consider Replacing Your Solar Panels
If after the 25-year period you notice that your energy bill is creeping back up, it might be because your solar energy system is not functioning efficiently. In the event this happens, you might need to invest in new solar panels.
Many solar companies offer apps or physical trackers that monitor your solar electricity generation monthly or even daily. Having a grasp of the typical amount of the energy output of your panels will help you notice if something is off.
For example, if your solar panels generate 35 kWh of clean electricity per week and you notice that over the years this reduces to 32 kWh, then 30 kWh – and there is no visible debris or increase of shade cover over your roof – this can indicate that your panels are beginning to degrade.
When your panels are no longer producing the amount of electricity your home needs, it becomes time to replace them.
Find out how much solar panels cost in your area
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What Will Happen To My Panels In 25 Years
In fact, nobody really knows. Theres little amount of data available as PV technology is rather new. Most panels installed are barely 10 years old. Anyway, there are several promising signs for the future of solar panels.
Technology is continuously improving, meaning that panels installed today are likely to live longer than the 25 years period prescribed to them. Many expect the modern generation of panels to last up to 30-40 years, which is good news for buyers as they will be able to cash in a bigger amount of earnings.
Sohow Long Do Solar Panels Last Really
So what happens after the 25 year mark is up? Panels that output at 80% efficiency still work, right?
There arent any tricks here the answer is yes! If your panels still output energy, theres no real reason to replace them.
Panels frequently produce energy long after their warranty expires. According to a 2012 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory , the average degradation rate for panels is between 0.5% to 0.8% per year.
Degradation rate is the rate at which solar panels lose efficiency over time. A panel with a degradation rate of 1% per year will be 10% less efficient after 10 years.
In fact, 78% of systems tested had a degradation rate of less than 1% per year. That means that after 25 years of use, about 4 out of 5 solar panels still operate at 75% efficiency or better.
At this point, its fair to estimate your solar panels will still produce energy in some capacity, long after the warranty is up. For a great example, check out this 30-year old panel featured in Green Building Advisor. When the owner pulled it off his roof and ran it through tests, it still performed better than the factory specifications.
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The Life Expectancy Of Solar Panels
In general, solar panels last approximately 25-30 years. But this doesnt mean your home solar system will stop producing energy when it reaches that timeline. Your solar system will continue to work, though your panels power production no longer will be guaranteed by the manufacturer. So its important to understand degradation rates and industry projections.
Get The Most From Your Solar Array
To get the most from your solar array, decrease energy consumption or use high-energy appliances during the day. Decreasing the amount of electricity will also add longevity to the solar arrays production and efficiency.
Installing a battery backup helps store excess energy, too, so you dont have to rely on the local utilitys net metering rates. Adding a smart thermostat can help reduce the amount of electricity needed for cooling and heating. When combined, these energy decreasing options and potentiating of solar modules efficiency will maximize the ROI for solar-powered homeowners.
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Ways To Extend Solar Panel Life
The best way to extend the life of your solar system is to work with a quality installer so it is installed correctly the first time. But then just treat it as you would any other important system in your home. Monitor production using the systems included with it regularly and give it a visual once over every month or so. Catching things like racking that has loosened or wires having been exposed early are always to your advantage. And generally, that should always be something done from the ground. It is highly unlikely you should ever have to actually get up on the roof. And in terms of cleaning your panels, it rains here in New England so again, even cleaning panels is generally unnecessary.
Choosing the right installer means quality products, workmanship, customer service, as well as providing warranties to help protect your wallet. Do your research and find the right installer that recommends the appropriate products for all your familys needs. Read the companies testimonials, review their website, and understand the level of professionalism they have to offer.
While all solar systems will eventually need replacement, it is generally a time that will be well into the future. And if your system is already on the older side, dont hesitate to reach out if you have questions. Were here to help.
Why Do You Need An Inverter For Solar Panels
Solar panels generally consist of layers with two main silicon semiconductor layers wired together and a separate non-conductive layer in between. The electrons stored in the upper silicon layer activate when exposed to photons produce from sunlight. Once activated these electrons become attracted to the atoms in the bottom semiconductor layer and travel through the wire to get to the bottom layer in one direction creating a charge or current flow which is also called DC or direct current.
In order for the solar energy to get utilized throughout a home or back fed into a utility grid safely, it needs to be converted to AC. Thats where the need of a solar inverter comes into play as there are most efficient at this task along with making sure the system stays optimized for peak performance.
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What Is The Yearly Solar Panel Degradation Rate
Through use, all products will lose performance, and solar energy systems are no exception. However, solar energy systems have a very low degradation rate throughout their lifespan. They will continue to produce energy as long as they are not dented or scratched from debris or other factors. Solar energy systems dont have any moving parts, so they seldom break and are usually only damaged by outside forces such as severe weather.
Some premium solar panels have a degradation rate of about 0.3% per year, while others have a higher degradation rate of 0.8% per year. Thats an average of about 0.5% per year. This means that if you get a standard solar panel with a warranty of 30 years at 0.5% degradation, your solar panel system should still be operating at 85% of its original optimal capacity when the warranty runs out. The panels that POWERHOME SOLAR uses guarantee that your panels will operate at least at 85% percent of their original capacity after 25 years.
What Causes Degradation
While solar panels naturally degrade over time for a number of reasons, some degradation issues occur more regularly. Discoloration and delamination cause most solar array failures. However, discoloration and delamination occur via heat-related issues.
Discoloration in Solar Panels
Discoloration occurs over time as the solar panels become exposed to heat. When solar panels start to discolor, this hinders sunlight from reaching the solar cells, which reduces production.
PV and Delamination
Delamination can occur because of manufacturing issues with the laminate or heat. When a solar panel delaminates, the moisture in the air can enter the solar panel, causing corrosion. Whether you live in a humid, hot climate or a cold, dry area, solar panels will last at least 25 years.
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