Solar panels are a way to harness and store the solar energy provided from the sun. Solar panels are often referred to as PV panels, short for photovoltaics. The light energy provided by the sun is changed into electricity as it converts the photon particles into electrical energy.
Solar panels are used in a variety of applications and you might have noticed them on things like telecommunications and power lines. There are plenty of benefits to using solar panels, least of all the ability to live completely off the grid and become self-sufficient, perhaps begin homesteading. The question is though – if they’re so popular, how long will they last?
How long could you expect your solar panel to last?
What’s The Life Length For Solar Panels?
There are plenty of variables which will affect the life cycle of your solar panels. However, you can expect for a rule of thumb that your solar panels will last between 25 and 30 years. Having said that though, they won’t just cease production of electricity. It just refers to their decline of production to what the manufacturer would call significant energy.
If your solar panels haven’t been highly damaged physically by the weather, temperature or human intervention, then solar panels should continue to last for decades. Of course, solar panels do not have any parts that will move and it is unlikely that solar panels will be destroyed from within.
Key Factors In Solar Panel Life
The declination of the life of a solar panel is roughly 0.8% every year, this is known as its degradation rate. This rate will be determined by a number of factors including which solar panel you buy – this is key as the premium brand of solar panel might reduce this degradation rate by up to 0.5% every year. Over time, this will amount to a significant amount of extra time.
Degradation rate is sometimes difficult to get to grips with. In its simplest form, the rate of degradation can be shown like this:
If the solar panel’s degradation rate is 0.8%, then in its second year – it will operate at 99.2% of its normal capacity. If the normal life cycle is suggested to be 25 years, it will still be operating at a rate of 82.5% – which is still highly significant, but the manufacturers state this number is not high enough to be acceptable. The life cycle of a solar panel is derived from the energy used to produce the panel vs how much energy it has stored in its life.
Is There A Way To Prolong The Life Of A Solar Panel?
Because solar panels are designed to take a huge amount of punishment from weather conditions, the chances of it being damaged by weather is low – but not impossible. If this happens, you should be able to exchange your solar panels within the terms of your purchase agreement.
Other than living in an area that has more sunlight than another or saving as much energy as possible, there is no way to extend a solar panel’s life as such – but you can take a step to conserve it.
Try and choose a reputable solar panel sales provider with good customer service. If for any reason you’re experiencing problems with your solar panel, you want to be sure that you’re in safe hands with trying to exchange it or get help.
You can keep an eye on your solar panels to ensure they’re being maintained, although it isn’t necessary to do this frequently. If you wish to, you could get your solar panels looked at every few years to make sure that they are operating as they should be. Eventually, someone will come to replace the central inverter, as that will degrade before your solar panels will – at this point, the professional should be able to give you some more advice about your solar panels.
In the meantime, if you are checking your solar panels every now and then, make sure that there’s no debris such as leaves or other natural substances on your panels. This is one of the few things you can do.
What Exactly Are The Benefits Of Solar Panels?
Solar panels are by far the most practical and energy efficient way of powering most applications through electricity. Living remotely can benefit from this as you are not able to take advantage of the main power grid, so you’ll often see solar panels on things like cabins.
Solar panels over the years have become more affordable, which is guiding more and more people towards using renewable energy, which is a fantastic thing to see.
Not only this, as we have established – they have a long life and are difficult to damage. Because of this, lots more people are turning towards solar panels as a choice. What’s more – after their life cycle, the system is totally free of charge.
Solar panels are also very easy to source nowadays! Gone are the days where you’d expect knocks on the door or leaflets through your mailbox asking you to call someone, you can now go straight to the source! BP solar, Sharp and General Electric are to name a few companies that are easy to contact and you can request solar panel quotes from!
Solar panels have a long life of around 2 to 3 decades where they are classed as operating at their best capacity – but even post 25 years, they continue to operate highly. There are a number of benefits to using solar panels, so it is highly recommended that you get in touch with a provider if you haven’t yet got them installed!