How Long Do Solar Panels Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 25 years  

A solar panel, which is otherwise called a photovoltaic module is equipment that uses energy from the sun to produce electricity. This is seen as an expensive and a better substitute for generators as the life of the solar panels lasts relatively very longer.  

A lot of people, especially these days, prefer solar panels compared to other power-generating types of equipment because the former does not emit waste or other toxic substances. Solar systems do not release any greenhouse gases into the air when you use them for electricity.  

Solar panels are otherwise known to produce clean energy electricity because it comes directly from the sun and the sun has all the energy we will ever need for the production of electricity. The energy that comes from the sun is pure and is not known to cause any harm to the atmosphere.  

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?  

Number Of Years Efficiency  
25 years  85%  
30 years 75% and depreciating  

The reason for solar panels to stand out when in comparison with the other power generating machines is their life. A solar panel is said to last for at least 25 years. There are studies that show that the solar panels which were installed in the 1980s are still on the run. There are very few complaints that claim that the life of a solar panel has diminished before the time mentioned in the warranty card.  

Solar panels are not like other electronic devices. Their performance does not reduce over time. In the last 20 years, solar panels have shown an increased improvement in their performance and life. It is said that they last even for 28 to 30 years if given proper care. Better the care, better the productivity they can offer.  

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Solar panels do not require much care which is seen as another advantage. Though given all the advantages, the one thing you have to keep in mind is that, a solar panel depreciation level is 0.5% every year. Even if you give all the care that you can, you cannot stop this. You might be able to control the percentage in the long run, but the yearly depreciation level is inevitable. Regular cleaning is one of the ways to extend the life of your solar panels. But this is not required in most cases, except if your house is situated in a muddy, dirty area.  

Why Do Solar Panels Last For So Long?  

Solar panels are manufactured to last for a period of 25 years or at max, 30 years. After this period, their performance will begin to significantly reduce, meaning they will produce less and less energy which might not be enough to serve a whole house or a company. It will still work after that period unless it is damaged by other external sources.  

What we call “solar panel degradation rate” is common to every solar panel there is. This is the main reason, they do not show the expected performance after a given period. 0.8% is the maximum and 0.5% is the minimum degradation rate they undergo every year.  

Let’s say, the degradation rate is 0.8%, in this case, your solar panel will have about 92% efficiency after a period of two years and it gets lesser and lesser as the years pass by and reduces up to almost 60% by the end of 20 years. 

Most of the electronic items, in fact, all of them, depreciate over time and nothing can be done to stop or prevent it. Solar panels are seen as no exception. The solar panel depreciates to a certain extent every year, .4 to 5% to be precise, which explains how it can no longer be in use after a period of 20 to 25 years.  

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Conclusion  

An uninterruptible power supply which is in short called UPS or other similar power suppliers is generally said to require much attention and servicing. For instance, UPS requires you to change the battery every 5 years or sometimes even 3 years. This is not the case for solar panels. The biggest advantage of a solar panel is that it requires really less servicing and maintenance.   

Solar panels also require you to change their batteries but the frequency is much lesser when compared to others. If you need better performance, change your battery every 10 to 15 years. Solar panel investments are a long-term commitment. Though the money you put in the beginning will look huge, the returns you get from it will make it worth it. Once you install a solar panel, you do not have to worry for another three decades, sometimes even more if you use it cautiously.  

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5616823
  2. https://www.solon.com/export/sites/default/solonse.com/_downloads/global/article-pid/Pinge_et_all_Mechanical_Stability.pdf
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