Upgrade Your Solar Inverter When:
- If you want to increase your electricity production, consider having an inverter that can support your pursuits.
- Update your old models for new, more convenient units. Replace the traditional inverter with a micro when you change your roof design.
- Check from your monthly utility bills receipt or the digital screen.
Enjoy Lasting Solar Power With Sunrun
Theres no doubt home solar panel systems are a major investment. Thats why were here to help you enjoy reliable, worry-free, renewable energy for years to come.
Our team of experienced Solar Advisors are ready to discuss your energy needs and help you find the ideal solar solution for your home. See why Sunrun is one of Americas leading solar companies and start with a free solar quote today.
When Should You Replace Your Solar Panels
Good solar panels can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, but there’s not necessarily a date at which point you should immediately replace yours. It’s more important to pay attention to their productivity. If your solar panels are still in good shape and producing enough electricity, then they may not need to be replaced. On the other hand, if you find that your electricity bill is going up because your solar panels are no longer doing the trick, then it’s probably time to replace them.
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How Long Do Solar Panels Actually Last
Solar panels offer homeowners a great way to reduce their carbon footprint. Luckily, the lifespan of solar panels will allow you to produce energy for many years, providing a great return on investment.
You can count on most photovoltaic solar panels to last 25 years before they begin to noticeably degrade. Most solar panel companies will provide a standard 25-year warranty for the expected life expectancy of the solar panels. After 25 years, your solar panels wont necessarily need to be replaced however, their ability to absorb sunlight will be reduced.
In this blog, well explain how long solar panels last, review solar panel degradation rates, and ways to make sure your solar panels last as long as possible.
Inspections: How Much And How Often
The going rate for an inspection by an accredited solar installer is typically $200 to $300. For that money, they will check the connections, cables, panels, rooftop mounting, DC isolator switches, and inverter. Some offer to do extra tests for extra money as part of a premium service, but as far as safety is concerned, I dont think the extra expense is worth the benefit.
I have been told by an installer the Clean Energy Council recommends an inspection every five years. However, an advertisement for rooftop solar inspections told me the Clean Energy Council recommends annual inspections.
Who to believe?
What the Clean Energy Council actually thinks, I dont know. If they had a strong opinion, you would think they would have put it on their site somewhere, but I cant see it.
What do I think? Well, if youre going to get it done, I would suggest getting an inspection every five years.
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How Much Does It Cost To Replace Solar Panels
The solar panel replacing cost is more than $700 on average. It depends on the damage and size of the panel. The labor cost is $100 per hour. Besides, an entire solar panel removing will cost you $400 $500 and it is without roof repairing cost.
You have to pay more when you remove the solar panel than installing a new one. The job is very technical and needs high attention to do everything.
Remember, you are replacing the solar panel that means it will take removing and installation costs together.
If you need to change all the solar panels, it will be more expensive.
Do Solar Panels Come With A Warranty
The standard solar panel warranty is 25-30 years. Since the system has no moving parts, there is very little likelihood of anything breaking down. However, if the efficiency of your solar panels starts to decrease too much, youll need the manufacturers help in replacing them. In general, panels are guaranteed to produce energy at 80% or above for the life of their warranty.
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How To Make Solar Panels Last Longer
As you can see, some of the factors that lead to solar panel degradation are controllable, while others aren’t. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to get the most of your solar panels.
One of the best ways to make your solar panels last longer is to work with a trusted provider. First, a trusted provider will make sure you get high-quality panels made from quality material. Additionally, a good provider will ensure the panels are installed correctly. Finally, a good solar provider will provide regular maintenance checks to ensure that everything is working properly.
There are also things you can do yourself to make your solar panels last longer. For example, be sure to remove debris that may end up on the solar panels from tree branches, snow, and more. Keeping your panels clean is one of the best ways to extend their lifespan.
Home Resale Value Increase
Were often asked if solar panels increase property value. Since a solar energy system is an asset just like any other, it does add to the value of your home.
However, this is only true if you own the system, rather than lease it.
A well known Zillow study shows us that homes with solar installations tend to sell for about 4.1% more than homes without.3 The value added will depend on the system size, quality and age of the installation.
As a bonus, if your state offers a property tax exemption for a solar installation, you wont have to pay the additional property taxes on the boost in property value provided by solar.
When To Know If The Solar Panels Need Replacement Already
Some signs will help you determine when you already need to change your solar panel. You must be aware of those signs for you to make the most out of your solar panel system. Here are the signs that you should look out for that will tell you that replacement is a must already.
- You are noticing that there is not enough power coming in. This can be a problem in converting energy or in the storage of energy that is coming from the sun.
- The power gets drained easily. This is because the cells arent able to hold the energy for much longer periods compared to when it was newer. The tendency is you will not get the full potential of your solar panel system.
Those are the signs that will help you know if your solar panel needs a replacement already in case you did not know the manufacturing date of your solar panel. This is because the manufacturing date is essential as it will determine the actual lifespan of the cells. Since the cells efficiency isnt forever, whether you use the solar panel or not, the cells life will deteriorate.
Can I Replace A Solar Panel Myself
You can carry out the installation process of the solar panels yourself. There are solar systems designed specifically for do-it-yourselfers that, while sometimes time-consuming, should be more than doable. It is worth noting, however, that many DIY solar panels are not designed to plug into the traditional power grid.
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Can You Use A Pressure Washer To Clean Solar Panels
It is not advised to use a pressure washer on the panels. If you have to, use it on the lowest possible setting, from a good distance away. The pressure washer will not break the panels per se, BUT the intensity of the stream will cause the panel to degrade faster, and wear down the glass making the panel more susceptible to damage.
What Causes Degradation?
According to the NREL study, the crystalline silicon modules located in extreme climates showed high degradation rates. For very cold climates, panels subjected to heavy wind and snow loads suffered the most. On the other hand, panels in similar climates that were installed in a facade, eliminating the snow load, had very low rates of degradation.
At the other extreme, panels in desert climates exhibited large decreases in production over time close to 1% per year mainly due to high levels of UV exposure. Panels in more moderate climates such as the northern United States had degradation rates as low as 0.2% per year. Those panels could retain 96% of their production capabilities after 20 years
Reason #: Solar Panel Repair
Despite their durability, solar PV panels can and do break. The exact cause can be anything from seismic activity to falling debris to shoddy manufacturing. Even pests or dust build-up can cause PV modules to stop working. Moreover, there are many other components in the system that might also need troubleshooting even if the panels themselves are working just fine. Inverters, batteries, breaker boxes, and wiring, for example, all ship with much shorter warranty coverage than the panels on your roof do.
Sometimes the PV system can be repaired with the components remaining in place. Other times, its necessary to uninstall broken parts to either replace them with working alternatives or send them off-site for repairs. This holds true whether the panels and other parts are still under warranty or if you need to pay for replacements out-of-pocket. Just remember that even if a broken component is technically warrantied, the actual cost of removing and reinstalling replacement parts is normally covered by the PV system owner and not by the manufacturer.
For a more detailed discussion, be sure to read our Comprehensive Guide on Solar Panel Repair.
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Companies Pushing Solar Leases Or Ppas
Some solar companies looking to quickly expand their business may advertise misleading messages about getting paid to go solar or free solar panels.
This is often another way of talking about a solar lease or power-purchase agreement , many of which have sign-up promos to draw in customers on a quick sale.
Though solar leases and PPAs can certainly be a viable option for certain homes, purchasing a system, whether outright or through a loan, will offer much better savings over time. Leases and PPAs can often come with strings attached as well, such as steep cancellation fees or complications with selling a home.
Whats The Average Solar Panel Warranty
Solar panel warranties vary, depending on the manufacturer and model you go for. Generally, youll find that the panels themselves will be covered for 10-25 years. This performance warranty will typically guarantee 90% production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years.
Of course, there is much more to these complex systems than the panels. Luckily, many of the other components come with a warranty too, including batteries, which are usually covered for roughly 5-15 years, and inverters, which are typically covered for between 5-10 years.
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Can Your Solar Panel Get Damaged
Extreme weather conditions such as hailstorms, hurricanes etc. can cause considerable damage to the solar panels. Extreme changes in temperature can also damage the solar panels over time since it can cause contraction and expansion in the materials used in the solar panels.
However, most solar panels come with 25-30 year warranties that you can make use of in order to repair any damages on your solar panels.
The Solar Panel Lifespan Explained
When solar panels near the end of their life, they dont just stop working. Rather, the energy they produce becomes much lower than when you first installed the solar panels because theyre unable to absorb as much sunlight.
This means that determining when solar panels need replacing can be difficult. To some extent, its down to the discretion of the property owner.
Solar panels have this kind of lifespan because of natural degradation: the gradual reduction in their output. Its normal for solar panels to have a degradation rate of around 0.5 percent per year.
In other words, the typical solar panel will be producing about 87.5 percent of the energy it did when it was new after 25 years. A warranty typically guarantees that youll receive at least 80 percent of the rated output.
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What Is ‘solar Panel Degradation Rate’
Over time, solar panels lose their ability to absorb sunlight and convert it into solar energy due to factors such as hotter weather and the natural reduction in chemical potency within the panel. This is what is referred to as the degradation rate.
The lower the degradation rate, the better the panel. When a solar panel has a lower degradation rate, it will produce more energy over its lifetime.
Degradation rates vary from one brand to another higher-quality panels have a lower degradation rate versus lower-quality panels. This is important to keep in mind when doing a solar panel comparison since it might make more sense in the long run to spend more money on higher quality panels.
According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study, premium modern solar panel manufacturers such as Panasonic and LG offer panels with degradation rates as low as 0.30% per year.
The worst degradation rate is .80% a year, but as a benchmark, you can expect an average degradation rate of .50% a year for any panel.
For most Tier 1 solar panels, the degradation rate is .30% meaning that each year, the panels performance is reduced by .30%. Over 25 years, that adds up to a total of 6.96% meaning your panels will operate at 93.04% of their original capacity in 2045.
If you invest in Tier 2 solar panels, your panels will degrade .50% each year and at the end of a 25-year warranty, they will operate at about 88.67% of their original capacity.
Avoid Losing Your Feed
Upgrading could force you to forfeit the feed-in tariffs youâre currently enjoying with the old system.
Check your stateâs FiT rules and policies to avoid losing out. Policies change over time. Check any restrictions that govern how you upgrade your solar system.
Calculate whether youâd make more money on the current tariff. Then, consult your provider or power company before you upgrade your solar.
Also, find out if your electricity network provider allows an expansion or approves the new size of power production.
In some cases, you may have to treat the additional panels as a whole new system. Youâd keep the existing system’s tariffs, but youâd also incur lots of costs for the new installation.
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What To Do If My Solar Panels Stop Working
If your panels are under warranty your solar company can help you with this. Often, the solar company you work with will do a complete inspection of the solar panels and other equipment in your solar system, including your solar micro inverters and the roof racking system.
In the unlikely case your panels stop working before the end of their typical lifespan , you should be able to have your solar installation company repair and/or replace the panels. This is why its important to have a warranty on the panels themselves and a power production guarantee from your solar panel installer. Then, you wont need to worry about this throughout the duration of the warranty.
Once your solar panels eventually stop working, they will need to be recycled and replaced.
What Happens To Solar Panels After 30 Years
Just because your solar system has reached the end of its expected life doesnt mean it still cant produce energy and save you money. Manufacturers determine the solar panels useful life is over once the panels production dips below 80% – but that doesnt mean its useless. The panels will continue to produce energy for many years to come but at a lower efficiency level.
Degradation is a normal, unavoidable part of owning solar panels. Nothing lasts forever, but the savings your solar system generates for you throughout its useful life could be saved or reinvested into your website. Some of our customers reach payback in as little as five years, which leaves them with two and a half decades of free electricity.
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When Is The Right Time To Replace Solar Panels
There are many factors that will determine how long your solar panels last however, theres no strict rule on when you should replace them. That said, we recommend replacing your panels based on their productivity rather than their age. As a general guide, most manufacturers and installers would recommend replacing a panel when its efficiency drops below 80%.
Sign Up For Professional Solar Service
To ensure your solar panels retain their optimal production, you should enlist professionals to monitor your systems performance, and provide any necessary service if they detect an issue. Trained solar service technicians from trusted solar companies can perform necessary repairs on your existing equipment, or replace the damaged parts if needed, to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.
If you want to rest assured that your system is in safe hands, check out Palmetto Protect. Available to all homeowners with a solar power system, Palmetto Protect offers real-time energy monitoring, fast and reliable support, and comprehensive energy recommendations, with a variety of service levels to match your specific needs.
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