An investment in solar panels can change the way you power your home, reducing your energy costs and improving your carbon footprint. Yet, for many people, going solar is a significant investment and they want it to reap the benefits for as long as possible. How long do solar panels last on a house? To help you get more insight into what to expect, consider the following.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
The lifespan of a solar panel is quite impressive, typically lasting between 25 and 30 years. After that point, the efficiency of the solar panels will start to drop, making them less able to meet the demand of the home. Most of the time, these solar panels will degrade over time, meaning that they become less efficient as they get older.
So, how long do residential solar panels last if you put them on today? There’s no limit on how long they last, but you should know they are more efficient and provide the highest level of power to your home now when they are new, and over time will benefit from being replaced.
How Quickly Do Solar Panels Degrade?
Over time, the power output of solar panels can decline; although, they may remain operational for several decades. That being said, it is important to consider the factors that can impact their lifespan.
Generally, solar panels are designed to require very little, if any, maintenance. They can handle most types of weather conditions as well. However, there are some situations where they may suffer damage from extreme weather or something falling on them hard, such as a tree branch, depending on where you live.
How long do solar panels last on a roof, then? How do you know when you need to replace them? One factor is the tier of the manufacturer and panel. The higher the tier, the higher the quality of the solar panel, and that often means they will last longer.
Typically, you will find that Tier One solar panels will last the longest. These solar panels generally will reach at least 25 years of consistent output. They do degrade over time, but only by .30% each year at most.
A Tier Two solar panel system will likely last for 20 to 25 years, though some may be less than that. They tend to degrade at a rate of about .50% each year. Tier Three tends to be the least expensive model and may last about 15 to 20 years, though some could last longer. They degrade the fastest at .80% annually.
The higher the quality, the better lasting and more efficient the panel. These also cost a bit more; sometimes, as much as 30% higher than what you will pay for a Tier Three product.
Overall, the average degradation rate for solar panels, according to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is about 0.5%.
Consider what that means if you maintain your solar panel system for the next 25 years. At the average rate of degradation, solar panels will still continue to provide about 89% output from their original level. That means that even 25 years in, they will still be capable of meeting most of your energy needs.
Can You Make Solar Panels Last Longer?
So how long do home solar panels last if you maintain them well? Is there anything you can do to make them last and remain even more efficient?
That depends on a variety of factors. Here’s what you should know about maintaining your solar panels.
The Quality of the Solar Panel
One of the best ways to keep solar panels working their best for you is to ensure you buy a high-quality product to start with, which means buying a Tier 1 or Tier 2 solar panel whenever it is possible to do so. These will provide a better level of functionality for you in the long term, which means your investment goes further.
One way you can ensure this is to look at the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Today’s best manufacturers offer long-term warranties that last 20 to 25 years, which helps give you confidence that you’re buying a quality product. Compare your options to determine which manufacturer offers the best.
Ensure It’s Installed Properly
The next thing you can do to ensure your solar panel lasts as long as possible is to have it professionally installed. Manufacturers create very specific rules for how these should be installed, and your warranty may depend on it.
However, it is very common for small mistakes to become a bigger problem later. For example, if the system isn’t wired properly, that’s going to cause early degradation of the solar panel. You also want to be sure that the company has experience working on the type of solar panel you’re selecting, the type of roofing structure you have, and can address any specific concerns you have in mind.
Maintaining the Solar Panel
Finally, there’s the maintenance of the solar panel. Most of the time, you will not have to do a lot to maintain them. However, there are a few things you can do:
- Keep tree limbs and branches from blocking the sun. Branches limit the ability of the solar panel to get enough direct sunlight, and can also increase the risk of sap on the panels.
- Keep them cleaned off. Don’t let leaves or other debris build up on them.
- Don’t walk on them or allow anything to touch them. Keep the holiday lights off them. Small chips lead to early wear and tear.
How Solar Energy World Can Help You Get Solar
How long do solar panels last then? For most people, they can last 25 years or more, providing you with a way to skip your electric bill that whole time. Key to that is having a professional help you with the entire process.Learn more about solar panel installation and lifespan when you contact Solar Energy World.