There’s a reason why there are enough solar energy panels in the United States to power 17.7 million homes. More and more homeowners are realizing that they can save money by switching to this renewable energy source.
However, some interested buyers might be understandably skeptical about such a big investment. These individuals likely want to know exactly how long their new solar systems can be expected to last.
If you fall in this category, then you’re in the right place. In this article we’ll answer the question, When will my solar panels stop working? We’ll also explore the factors that make solar panels degrade and how to make them last longer. Let’s get started.
When Will My Solar Panels Stop Working?
Generally speaking, most solar panels will get between twenty-five to thirty years of dependable solar power output. However, this doesn’t mean that after twenty-five years pass the solar panels just stop producing electricity.
Indeed, this is far from true. Instead what happens is they degrade steadily over time. When this occurs the panels become less efficient and their output level will steadily decrease.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t keep using them. It just means that they aren’t as effective as they were when you first purchased them.
The reality is that solar panels will continue to output electricity for decades before they finally break down. However, this is assuming that they aren’t damaged by inclement weather or debris like fallen trees and branches.
What’s the Main Factor That Affects the Solar Panel Lifespan?
The biggest factor that affects the lifespan of a solar panel is the degradation rate of the product you purchase. This is the rate at which the efficiency of the solar panel product degrades.
The average solar panel degrades at a rate of .8% every year. However, manufacturers are steadily improving these decline rates by lowering the rate at which they fall. Some solar panels these days only degrade at a rate of .3% each year.
So let’s say you purchase new solar panels that degrade at a rate of .6% each year. In your second year, it will operate at 99.4% of the original power output that it came with.
Flashforward to twenty-five years in the future and your solar panels will operate at 85% of their original power output levels. So, as you can see solar panels are far from useless after a few decades.
However, depending on their degradation they might not be nearly as efficient as they were when you first purchased them.
How Can You Make Your Solar Panels Last Longer?
The good news is that your panels are likely already incredibly durable. Most manufacturers specifically make their panels so they can withstand inclement weather. So things like high winds, snow, and even hail shouldn’t damage your solar panels.
And, since there are no moving parts involved these systems generally need little to no maintenance. So, what can you do to improve the lifespan of your panels? The most important thing that you can do is find the best solar company to install them.
Ideally, you want a supplier that provides long-term warranties that cover repairs, defects, and environmental damage. If you want to extend the lifespan, then you should also make sure that you get your panels regularly checked.
This can reveal potential issues like exposed wires or loose racks. However, we don’t recommend inspecting the panels yourself. This can lead to potential damage if you accidentally scratch the panels.
Also, keep in mind that the other components of a solar system don’t last as long as the panels. For example, solar inverters typically have a lifespan of fifteen years. As such, you will likely need to replace them within the lifespan of your solar panels.
You should also make sure that your solar panels remain clear of any debris during their life. Not only does debris reduce the efficiency, but it can scratch and damage the panels. If you’re tired of animals crawling or making nests of your panels, then consider installing critter guards to keep them away.
What Should You Do When Your Solar Panels Stop Working?
If your solar panels have broken down, or they aren’t as efficient as they used to be, then the first thing you should do is make sure it’s not a repair problem.
We recommend contacting a professional, or your installer if they provided you with a warranty. These warranties will usually cover most maintenance and repair problems. Get their opinion on whether or not the solar panels can be salvaged.
If the answer is no, then it’s time to get rid of them. The good news is that solar panels don’t just provide green energy. They also produce little to no waste. Between 90% to 97% of the decommissioned material in solar panels can either be sold or recycled.
Once you sell or recycle your old solar panels, then you can either install new ones or go back to traditional power.
Alternatively, you can continue using your old panels instead of recycling them. However, they will continue to produce less and less power for your home or business.
Want a Solar Company You Can Trust? Contact SunState Solar
We hope this article helped you answer the question, When will my solar panels stop working? As you can see, the best way to get the most lifespan out of your solar panels is by choosing a quality installer that offers quality products and installation.
But how do you find a solar company that you can trust? If you live in the New Mexico area, then look no further than SunState Solar. We believe in providing our customers with the highest quality products at an affordable price.
That’s why they come with a twenty-five-year, worry-free warranty. So, if you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of solar power, then get in touch with us today.