According to the Pew Research Center, almost half of all U.S. homeowners say that they have given serious thought to installing solar panels, the highest incidence in history. It is a great way to save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
If you are considering installation, one of the main questions you probably have is, “How long do solar panels last?” There is no easy answer to this question since it depends on many different factors, including what type of panels you buy and where you live.
Fortunately, once you understand these variables, you will be able to make an educated guess about your solar panel lifespan. Keep reading to find out what major factors to consider.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, solar panels are designed to last about 20 years. That is a good ballpark, given standard conditions.
But many systems can operate at close to optimum capacity for well over 25 years and can last decades longer. To determine “How long do solar panels last?” consider these characteristics.
Solar panel degradation is the amount of energy-capturing ability they lose over a particular period of time. This varies based on the types of solar panels you choose.
For high-end, or “tier 1,” panels, you can expect a loss of about 0.3 percent annually. By comparison, “tier 3” solar panels will see a drop of about 0.8 percent every year.
Over a 25-year period, this means that tier 1 panels will be operating at about 93 percent of their original capacity, while tier 3 panels will be running at less than 83 percent. It is easy to see how energy cost-savings for tier 1 panels can be actualized over the life of your solar panel system.
While you can’t control the weather, it is useful to know that certain conditions have a greater impact on the wear-and-tear of home solar panels than others. Rain can cause corrosion to your system, but this is usually not the case if you purchase a quality product and have it installed correctly.
Extreme heat or cold can damage panels as well, although temperatures would need to be sustained over a long period of time. Heavy snows that cover the cells not only stifle energy production but can cause panels to become brittle and crack.
Most solar panels are made to withstand regular wind. Yet strong storms can cause solar panels to vibrate or shake, which can shatter them. If you experience strong winds, the best thing to do is have the installer inspect them to ensure they have not loosed or become damaged.
The most common culprit associated with weather damage to solar panels is flying or falling debris. Regularly check your panels to ensure they are clear of any limbs or leaves that have accumulated on or around them during a severe weather event.
One of the biggest factors in ensuring the greatest lifespan of solar panels is proper installation. Going with a reputable company, such as Blue Raven Solar, will help ensure this.
Most solar panel systems require very little maintenance. But another advantage of going with a prominent installer is that any upkeep or repair concerns will be taken care of down the road.
Know Your Solar Panel Lifespan
We hope this information helps answer the question “How long do solar panels last?” so that you can determine if installing them is the right move for your home.
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