How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

One of the most common questions we get from homeowners is, “How long do solar panels last?” This is a great question! Naturally, you want to know how long your solar panels will produce ample energy so that you can receive a return on your investment. 

Solar panels will be able to offset your electricity use and lower your utility bills for decades, but certain factors that will affect the life span of your panels. We explain…

How long do solar panels last?

The short answer is that solar panels last about 25 to 30 years. Here comes the long answer. Solar panels don’t stop producing electricity after 25 years. Instead, the energy production declines by what solar panel manufacturers consider to be a “significant amount.” 

Solar panels will continue to work for years and years, as long as they aren’t physically damaged by wind, debris, or any other external factors. This durability is in part to the fact that solar panels do not have any moving parts that break from within. If damage occurs, it is most often caused by a poor installation or inclement weather. 

What is the panel degradation rate? 

Based on a 2012 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar panel output falls by 0.8 percent each year on average, a rate known as the solar panel degradation rate. The good news? Thanks to advanced technology, solar degradation rates are constantly improving. Since this study was performed, newer and more efficient panels with just a 0.5 percent degradation rate have become available. 

To determine the projected output of your solar panel system after a certain number of years, simply multiply the degradation rate by the number of years you are interested in and subtract that number by 100 percent. 

For example: 

25 years x 0.8% degradation rate = 20% 

100% – 20% = 80% operating energy output by year 25

It is important to note that not every solar panel is created equal, and some brands are better than others. A good way to gauge how long your panels will last is the duration of the manufacturer’s service warranty (typically 25 years). You will also receive an equipment and performance warranty – both intended to guarantee your panels produce a certain amount of energy (typically 10 to 12 years). 

Is there a way to make solar panels last longer?

Solar panels are extremely durable and have been made to withstand high winds and falling hail. And since they do not have moving parts, they require little to no maintenance. However, there are ways you can extend the life of your solar panels, some of which include:

  • Work with a reputable installation company, such as Solar Bear, that provides excellent customer service, high-quality solar panels, and quality installations.
  • Schedule annual maintenance checks by your installation company. *At Solar Bear, the first five years of maintenance checks are FREE!
  • Keep panels clear of debris and other damaging materials.

Contact Solar Bear! 

Interested in learning more about the solar panel installation process? Solar Bear Tampa can help! Please contact us at 813-922-3735 to schedule a FREE quote!