Jessica PirroApril 26, 201919430
When considering going solar a lot of homeowners are hesitant to commit because of the cost. But now there are financing options and tax incentives to help make solar panels more affordable.
One thing to keep in mind when going solar is going solar isn’t just a spur of the moment decision. It is an investment. Like most investments solar panels are a long term commitment that will eventuality pay themselves off with savings on your utility bills.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
Solar panels usually have a lifetime warranty of 25 years, (some panels offer a 30-year warranty but that is not typical). The typical lifespan of a solar panel is considered 25 years, however in most studies, after 25 years the solar panels still work, they just have a reduced production rate.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) did a study in 2012 that found, the average solar panel output drops by 0.8% every year. This decline in this source of renewable energy production is referred to as the solar panel degradation rate.
The rate that each panel declines varies based on which brand you buy. However, because solar panel technology is advancing, the rate that solar panels degrade is improving as well.
Since the study was done there have been many technological improvements and 78% of the newer solar panels have cut their degradation rates to 0.5% yearly.
During the 25 year warranty, solar panels are expected to maintain at least 80% of their rated energy output. Their warranty is the manufacturer’s guarantee that the solar panels will operate at their exact or near their peak levels of efficiency for 25 years.
This warranty insinuates that at the end of its 25-year warranty, a 300-watt panel should still be producing at least 240 watts.
There is also a separate warranty that is offered by solar panel manufacturer’s called a workmanship warranty. This warranty covers all manufacturer errors, usually faulty junction boxes or frames.
The typical workmanship warranty is a 10-year warranty but some manufacturer’s offer workmanship warranties up to 20 years.
These warranties are good news for those who are concerned with their return on investment in their solar powered system.
There is no guarantee that the solar panels will last longer than their warranty, but that is the case for most solar panels. Because there aren’t any moving parts to solar panels, therefore, the solar panel lifespan is typically pretty reliable for a longer term source of renewable energy.
Can You Make Your Panels Last Longer?
The majority of solar panel manufacturer’s test their solar panels to ensure that they can withstand real-world conditions like high winds and lots of snowfall without breaking. They are also tested to make sure that they can handle hail storms without breaking.
Because solar panels don’t have any moving parts they are low maintenance, therefore the best thing that you can do to make sure that the solar panels last longer hires a good solar panel installer.
You should also buy the solar panels that have robust warranties. These warranties offer a 10-12 year warranty on the solar-powered systems equipment, such as solar panels and solar panel inverters to cover defects and damages that are caused by the environment.
If your solar panels are well maintained it can help lower the degradation rate and it will help you solar powered systems last longer and the solar panels will have higher efficiency for a longer amount of time.
Get your panels checked regularly
Having your solar panel installer come out and do regular examinations of your solar panels is the best way to make sure that your solar panels last a long time. These examinations can reveal any potential problems that your solar powered system may have such as loose racking or exposed wires, which will put the solar panels themselves in danger.
The reason it is important to have your solar panel installer come out and check on your solar powered system instead of doing it yourself is because of the warranty. If you inspect your solar panels and see an issue that you try to fix and end up damaging your solar panels while attempting to fix it, you could possibly void the warranty of the solar panels.
When the solar panel installer is inspecting the roof they are also inspecting the other equipment on your solar powered system, especially your solar panel inverters and the racking.
Solar panel inverters will usually last 10 to 15 years and will need to be replaced at some point during the solar panels lifespan. Unless you have a micro solar panel inverter. A solar panel lifespan and a micro solar panel inverter will usually be the same.
When the solar panel installer checks they racking they will make sure that everything is in place and nothing is loose. If the racking is loose there is a huge risk that the solar panel will be moved around or fall of the racking.
Keep Your Panels Clear of Damaging Materials
When the solar panel installer comes out to assess your property for your solar panels, they will make sure that there aren’t any tree’s that could potentially shade your solar powered system, or have its branches fall and damage it.
By making sure your solar panels stay debris free you are helping your solar powered system stay damage free. If you can avoid physical damages being done to your solar panels you can help extend the panels lives to well past 25 years.
If you are interested in making sure your solar panels last past 25 years there are specific products that you can buy to keep your solar panels damage free.
Solar panels can outlast their warranties as long as you are properly taking care of them. You should make sure to hire a reputable solar panel installer and schedule regular inspections with them and keep your solar panels clean of debris to make them solar panels outlive their warranty.
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