How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
The cost of installing solar panels has fallen drastically since their first days in 1977, making solar energy accessible for more homeowners and businesses. They are still a large investment though, and we often get questions about how long they last and what can be done to increase their lifespan.
Our pros at Solar Bear outline how long solar panels last, and how to make them last as long as possible.
The Lifespan of Solar Panels
Though their exact lifespan depends on many factors, such as the type of panel, how the system is installed, maintained, and the climate where you live, solar panels generally last 20-30 years.
Solar Panel Degradation Rate
On average, solar panels degrade and lose efficiency at 0.5% per year. This means that after a standard 25-year warranty is completed, your solar system will provide 87.5% of its factory output.
Which Solar Panels Last the Longest?
Both polycrystalline and monocrystalline silicon solar panels can last for a long time—often longer than their 25-year warranties.
- Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are the most efficient and have solar cells that are shaped like squares with cut-off corners. Their high efficiency isn’t cheap—they are typically more expensive.
- Polycrystalline silicon solar panels are slightly less efficient and can be less expensive to install.
What Makes Solar Panels Less Efficient?
Heat can cause cracks and allow moisture to get inside your solar panels. Moisture is a big issue that can degrade your panes and reduce their energy output.
In extreme heat, the panels can become discolored which also makes the entire system less efficient.
Strong winds can cause the entire solar array to vibrate and loosen the fasteners that hold the system together.
If your solar panels weren’t installed correctly, rain can cause corrosion that weakens the metal understructure and framing as well as reduce your system’s efficiency.
Ways to Make Your Solar Panels Last Longer
To increase the lifespan of your solar panels, consider the following:
Get Your Panels Checked and Maintained
Some of the top issues that affect solar panels are broken glass, cracked panels, and loose connections. Proper maintenance is key to ensuring that your solar panels are efficient.
Replace Inverters After 10 Years
Faulty inverters can cause system failure and generally have a lifespan of 10-15 years, so within 10 years of installation, it is a good idea to replace them.
Many homeowners choose to install highly efficient microinverters that can last up to 25 years—almost as long as the panels themselves.
Maintain and Replace Batteries
If you have a large bank of solar batteries, make sure to rotate them periodically. This allows each battery to receive an equal amount of charge and extend its service life.
You can also improve battery charging by using larger battery cables which often carry lower resistance.
Last, never leave your solar batteries uncharged for extended periods, as this can negatively impact their efficiency and capacity.
Keep Your Panels Free of Debris
While solar panels are strong enough to withstand high winds, heavy snow, and even hail, they still need to be kept clean to maximize their efficiency and increase their lifespan.
If you regularly remove dust, pollen, bird droppings, and leaves from your solar panels, they will last longer. When you wash them off, make sure to do so in the morning before they heat up to ensure that they don’t crack.
Work with a Trusted Solar Panel Installer
The best thing that you can do to make your solar system last longer is to get them installed by a reliable installation company from the very beginning. Solar Bear is the highest-rated solar installation company in Florida and offers the longest warranties in the industry.
Say Yes to Solar
As you can see, the lifespan of your solar panels depends on many factors. You need to watch out for extreme weather and clean them periodically to ensure they are efficient and performing properly.
The best way to ensure that your solar panels last is to choose a company that offers a solid warranty like Solar Bear! Say yes to solar with Solar Bear today — (407) 904-7585!