More and more people are looking for a better, planet-friendly, and cost-effective energy source. Solar panels are renewable and clean energy sources that have quickly become a popular option.
Solar panels are devices used to convert light from the sun into electricity. Suppose you want to switch to a solar panel as an alternate energy source. In that case, it is crucial to know its lifespan and degradation rate.
A solar panel is a long-term investment. Therefore, knowing how long it’s going to last allows you to maximize its use and reap all of its advantages.
Read on as this article gives you a thorough insight on what you need to know about solar panel lifespan and degradation rate.
What is the Lifespan of a Solar Panel?
According to studies, solar panels are guaranteed to last between 25-30 years. Depending on how you maintain your panels, the lifespan of solar panels can be even more than that. Solar panels can still produce energy 30 years after installation.
Solar panels don’t just stop working after 25-30 years. However, there will be a decline in their energy production.
Solar panels will keep working for many years as long as they are not physically damaged or there’s no breakdown within their internal system. The first modern solar panel still produces energy 60 years after it was installed.
What is Solar Panel Degradation?
Solar panel degradation is the progressive loss of a panel’s power output. Over time, solar panels will experience a gradual decrease in their efficiency. They will continue to produce less energy with the same amount of sunlight.
The degradation rate also varies depending on the brand and quality of your panels. The average degradation rate is 0.5% per year. However, others have degradation rates that can range from 0.3% to 0.8%.
It means that if you have a 25-year warranty panel with a 0.5% degradation rate, after 25 years of use, your solar panel will continue working at 88% of its initial power output capacity.
What are the Causes of Solar Panel Degradation?
Several factors can cause solar panel degradation. The most common is its direct exposure to UV light coming from the sun.
Exposure to harsh weather conditions, junction box failure, and panel discoloration can also contribute to its decline.
As with other products and commodities, wear and tear affect the lifespan of solar panels and impact their efficiency to produce energy.
How to Extend the Lifespan of a Solar Panel?
Since solar panels are considered an investment, it is best to do your homework and research your provider. Ensure that your provider has a proven track record and has successfully installed solar panels to setups similar to yours.
As an interconnected and fragile system, installing a solar panel is a delicate and complicated process. Go with trustworthy providers and installers who are experts and have the necessary experience to do the job.
Avoid physical damage, especially on the surface of the panels. The more nicks and scrapes, the higher the degradation rate. Also, think of ways to shelter your panels during extreme weather conditions to protect them from damage.
Do Solar Panels Require Regular Maintenance?
Routine and consistent solar panel maintenance is essential to keep your solar panel’s efficiency and high energy output.
You can ask your provider for help rather than doing it yourself. Most suppliers have maintenance and repair services as part of their installation package.
Routine maintenance and monitoring ensure that your solar panel is running in top shape and maximum performance.
What Happens to a Solar Panel if They are No Longer Useful?
Even if a solar panel’s “useful life” is over, it does not necessarily mean it’s useless. Again, the solar panel will continue to generate power with lesser efficiency.
If your solar panel has reached its limit and is no longer working, the best option is to recycle. Solar companies have programs in place to reclaim and recycle old solar panels. Countries have set up standards for recycling solar panels.
Solar panel manufacturers must take back their panels and send them to a recycling facility to make new solar panels.
Because of the many advantages of solar energy, solar panels have been installed on homes, business establishments, and farms worldwide.
With the growing clamor to find planet-friendly and cheaper energy sources, it is high time to switch to solar power.