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What Is The Lifespan Of A Solar Panel | How To Increase Solar Panel Lifespan

Solar panels are the new best thing when it comes to green energy. Solar panels are photoelectric cells that harvest the energy from the sun and convert it into electrical and mechanical energy that can be used in households and offices. 

 

These panels are a great investment as they not only help in saving the environment from burning fossil fuels but also save you money on your electrical bills. Moreover, another great thing about solar panels is that on a particularly sunny day, the excess energy produced by the panels gets transmitted back into the grid for future use on cloudy or rainy days.

 

However, there are a number of other things to consider too when it comes to solar panels like, what is the lifespan of a solar panel, how effective they are, how to increase their lifespan, and whether they degrade over time.

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How Long Do Solar Panels Last in Orlando?

In this day and age, it doesn’t require much convincing for people to go solar as solar panels are one of the most popular inventions of the last decade or two. But the one question that most people ask before investing a hefty amount of money into solar panels is: what is the lifespan of a solar panel?


According to the industry standard, the average lifespan of a solar panel is around 25-30 years.


However, it is important to understand that after three full decades, the solar panel will not die but instead the energy conversion will decrease way below its initial level. There is no way to determine how long a solar panel can last as there are many factors that can affect its lifespan.

solar panels linked to a solar pool heater system in Florida

Do Solar Panels Last 25 Years in Orlando?

 

Although there is no way to know for sure, the average age for a solar panel determined by the manufacturers is 25-30 years. This does not mean that after exactly 25 years the solar panels will stop working, it only means that the ability to produce energy will significantly decrease or begin to decrease in 25 years.

 

 

How Often Do You Have to Replace Solar Panels in Orlando?

 

On average, most solar panels have a long lifespan of 25-30 years with little to no maintenance required and can be replaced after their efficiency has decreased. But if you take care of your panels, maintain them, and get them checked by a professional at least twice a year, they can last up to 50 years too.

 

 

Do Solar Panels Degrade Over Time?

 

Just like most technologies, solar panels will decrease their efficiency and produce less energy after being installed for a few decades. This reduced output of solar panels over time is known as the degradation rate.

 

Many companies can calculate the degradation rate of their solar panels which on average is around 0.5%. This means that a solar panel's ability to harvest solar energy and convert it into electrical energy will decrease at a rate of 0.5% every year. This degradation rate is still not bad because even after 20 years, at a rate of 0.5%, your solar panels will remain at about 90% of their energy-producing capacity.

 

The degradation rate of a solar panel also depends on the quality and craftsmanship of the individual panel. If you are opting for a cheaper solar panel, it might not differ from the other solar panels in the quality of its output but it may have a higher rate of degradation. This means that if the degradation rate is 0.8, after 2 whole decades of use, the solar panel will be operating at 82.5% of its original potential.

 

Many companies will answer the question of what the lifespan of a solar panel is by supplying you with information about the degradation rate of the panel, equipment warranty, and performance warranty, which will give you a rough idea about the average lifespan of the panel.

Solar Panels

Can You Make Your Solar Panels Last Longer?

 

Depending on the manufacturer, solar panels’ performance can be guaranteed for 25 - 30 years, but it’s very possible that your panels will go on to produce electricity for longer than that.

Power electronics are essential to the safe and efficient operation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, serving as a critical gateway between solar and the grid. Innovations in power electronics can improve PV system functionality and enhance PV system and grid control capabilities, leading to system’s longer lifespans and lower costs.

 

However, the typical lifetime of these devices is only 10 years, requiring customers to replace them long before the panels need to be replaced. Extending the lifetime can have significant advantages to the cost and function of a solar system. [1]

 

While solar panels require minimum maintenance, it is possible for you to increase their lifespan by taking regular care and inspecting it for damages from time to time. You can look after your panels by yourself or can even hire a professional solar contractor like Everything Solar bi-annually to have a look at your panels to ensure they are in perfect shape. Here are a few ways to ensure that your solar panels last longer than their average lifetime of 25 years:

 

 

1. Keep Your Panels Clear of Debris and Other Damaging Materials

 

Since the solar panels are situated on the most exposed part of the house: your roof; they tend to get dirty due to the accumulation of dust particles, dirt, pollen, leaves, bird droppings,  and much more. This can be really damaging to the solar panel’s receptor and can affect the overall performance of the panel. This accumulation of dirt can also block the sun from reaching the photovoltaic cells which results in low energy production.

 

According to most solar panel owners, rain is enough to clean this build-up but it is pertinent that you consider hiring a professional cleaner to remove all the dirt and get your panels working at their full efficiency. Another thing you might want to take notice of is to keep your panels away from any branches. These branches tend to block the sunlight and are a possible hazard to the panels in case of strong winds and storms.

 

If you ever think your panels are not working at their full capacity, feel free to call your solar contractor and ask for support.

 

 

2. Make Sure Your Panels Are Regularly Monitored and Maintained

 

If you make it a habit to regularly check on your solar panels and make sure that all of their parts including their performance, meters, and the inverter are working at full capacity, you have a chance of increasing the solar panel’s life span. There are a few things you can do to maintain your panels besides cleaning them regularly. Make sure to:

 

  • Clean the vents off any debris
  • Check the switches for defects
  • See if any part of the solar panel has been corroded
  • Check all the wiring and make sure all of it is secure and fitted
  • Check whether all the emergency procedures for an instant shutdown of the panels and isolation are displayed clearly

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3. Team Up with a Trustworthy Solar Provider

 

Another way for you to make sure your panels are regularly monitored and maintained is by teaming up with a reputable solar contractor. Hiring a qualified solar contractor will ensure that your panel is working perfectly while producing green, clean, affordable, renewable, and reliable energy for decades.

 

Many solar companies have comprehensive maintenance packages set for their clients, which monitor the solar panels and maintain their high working capacity.

 

At Everything Solar, we have a qualified and dedicated team of solar contractors that vow to keep your panels safe and working efficiently. Contact our team at Everything Solar for all solar-related queries and services.

 

 

What Happens to Solar Panels at the End of Life?

 

Even though solar panels were created as an eco-friendly approach to replace the electricity produced by burning fossil fuels, it still plays a huge part in damaging the planet. Just like other electronic and chemical waste, solar panels are impossible to recycle and ultimately end up in landfills.

 

The only solution to the problem of increasing landfills is recycling but since the solar panels are made of many hazardous materials, they are too complicated to break apart without chemical intervention.

 

 

The Final Word

 

Solar panels are indeed a major investment but also a wonderful technology that has taken over the world in just a few years. The purpose of these panels is to limit pollution and create clean energy from solar energy and it is an added benefit that you need to replace the panels after every 30 years. Additionally, having the panels installed and maintained by a qualified professional can increase its productivity and lifetime for more than a decade.

 

References

Extending Solar Energy System Lifetime with Power Electronics https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/articles/extending-solar-energy-system-lifetime-power-electronics