Solar panels are one of the best renovation projects you can undertake. When you add solar panels to your home, you can reduce your energy costs, reduce environmental harm, and increase the overall value of your home. Solar panels offer an excellent return on investment. However, you may be wondering how long do solar panels last on a home once they are installed.
Solar Panels Lifespan
Solar panels degrade over time and as the years pass the panels produce less energy and become less efficient. However, this degradation takes years and many solar panels can last 20 years or more. Depending on the quality of the solar panels you installed, this degradation rate can vary. Top-of-the-line solar panels degrade very slowly (roughly 0.30 percent per year) and can still produce around 93% of the total productive capacity after 25 years. By comparison, lower-quality panels degrade much more quickly and their energy output will be reduced to 82% after 25 years of use. To summarize, solar panels do last a long time but do suffer from reduced performance with time. That being said, good-quality panels will still provide excellent performance even decades after installation.
Other Factors That Impact Solar Panel Lifespan and Durability
While the quality of the solar panels you install notably impacts how long they will last, this is not the only factor to keep in mind. Here are other items that affect how long your solar panels will last and variables that can decrease (or increase) your solar panels’ lifespan.
- Local Weather: the environment you live in impacts your home’s solar panels. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures or high levels of snowfall, your solar panels will wear down faster. Other weather patterns that can negatively impact your solar panels include regular hail storms and heavy rain.
- Maintenance: regular maintenance helps keep your solar panels in working order and can help them last longer. Common issues such as repair needs, collection of dirt on the panels, and other debris can negatively impact your solar system. With regular maintenance and cleaning, your solar panels will last longer and work better.
- How Your Solar Panels Were Installed: the installation process can impact how long your solar panels last. Proper installation isn’t the only consideration, as the type of rack you install your panels on will affect how long they will last.
When To Replace Your Solar Panels
While your solar panels may reduce productivity over the years, well-made panels will still provide over 90 percent of their operating capacity after 20 years. While degradation is an issue, it is also slow in occurring. Therefore, there is no set timeframe on when solar panels should be replaced as older solar panels may still provide an acceptable level of performance. You should watch your solar panels’ performance and see if a reduction in output becomes noticeable and your power bills start to climb. If your solar panels aren’t performing to the level you expect, then it is time to get them replaced.