How Long Do Solar Panels Last? 4 Tips to Maintain Solar Panels
Adding solar panels to any home, RV or van is a smart investment that enhances its value, as most solar panels can last up to 30 years. This could e exciting news for those who worry their money spent on the panels could be a waste. Solar panel systems are long-lasting.
Solar provides abundant, green, and renewable energy, and an
off grid solar kit can meet long-term needs to reduce the energy bill and avoid the risk of power failure in an emergency to ensure an uninterrupted life and adventure. A good quality solar power system should provide clean, sustainable energy for decades. And with good care of your solar panels, they could maintain good performance for even a longer time, thus it’s critical to learn how to choose and care for your panels.
Key takeaways on this page
- How long do solar panels last?
- Degradation rate: A key factor in panel lifespan and panel warranties
- Tips to extend the lifespan of your solar panels
How long do solar panels last?
Most solar panels on the market today have a lifespan of 25-30 years. This doesn’t mean that the solar panels installed on the roof of your house or RV will suddenly stop working completely one day after about two decades.
The lifespan of the solar panels means that the output of the panel will decrease a significant amount below the standard the manufacturer projected after years of use, which the solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average American family’s energy requirements.
You can feel free to enjoy off grid solar for decades. Normally, a solar panel will be able to work with relatively stable performance for decades, but there are a few things to know about solar panel warranties and their performance over time.
Degradation rate: A key factor in panel lifespan and panel warranties
Every solar panel installed on a home rooftop or the top of RVs is rated for maximum power output, with a typical range of 100-450 watts per panel. Please note that the size and wattage of the solar panel will not impact its lifespan. But today’s solar panels will slowly lose some power output as they age over time. The rate at which solar panels lose power output capacity is called its degradation rate.
The typical degradation rate of a solar panel is about 0.5-0.8% per year. That means 25 years after installation, a panel with a 0.8% degradation rate will produce approximately 80% of the electricity it produced in year one. Higher-quality solar panels typically have a lower degradation rate. The grade of solar cells used, and the quality of the materials for the frame and glass all contribute to the lifespan of the solar panel.
In addition, the degradation rate provided by panel manufacturers is obtained under standard test conditions. This means the efficiency and lifespan of the panels may be affected by certain factors in actual use, such as the installation methods, service environment, temperature, as well as daily maintenance, etc.
Solar panel warranties
Degradation rate is an important factor when it comes to solar panel warranties. Solar manufacturers guarantee the power production of panels based on the degradation rate. A good solar warranty will guarantee at least 80 percent of its original rated power output by the end of the warranty period.
Most solar warranties will also cover workmanship and materials to protect the consumer against defects inspecific component issues, such as junction boxes or faulty framing. These are typically 5-year warranties.
Tips to extend the lifespan of your solar panels
Good quality solar panels undergo rigorous testing before they leave the factory. They’re inspected for any small defect or damage and tested to ensure they can withstand extreme weather like wind, heavy snow, and even hail. The good news is, that solar panels, once installed, don’t get moved often and don’t have moving parts of their own. They’re relatively low-maintenance and with routine care should last for decades.
But to help your solar panels can work efficiently for as long as possible, here are some further tips for you.
Find a trustworthy solar provider
You may find some solar panels with quite attractive prices which are much lower than other panels in the market, but very likely to use lower quality components, such as lower-grade solar cells, which will be caused the solar panels may damage easily. These damages are not necessarily obvious, more often to be the subfissure of the solar cells, which are difficult to find with the naked eye, will affect the efficiency and service life of the solar panel significantly in the long term.
The solar panels will provide service to you for decades, and if you are looking to add a complete solar system into your home, including solar panels and other accessories such as
battery charger, it’s usually not a small investment that can be neglected. This is why it’s important to choose a trustworthy solar brand with years of experience and a solid reputation in the marketplace. Although the upfront investment may be a bit higher, the guaranteed product quality and credible follow-up maintenance and warranty will be well worth it.
Have your solar panels routinely checked
solar panel maintenance will help identify potential problems such as exposed wiring, warping, color changes, or cracking of the junction box. For residential rooftop solar you may need an installer or technician to do a periodic inspection. Most solar installers can provide this service. Unless there are noticeable issues with the performance of your system an annual inspection is usually sufficient.
It’s best to work with a trained professional for inspections. They can find easy-to-miss problems and can help protect your warranty. Many manufacturers will void or limit a warranty if a system is serviced by anyone other than a licensed professional.
Portable Solar panels for RV or van should be inspected more frequently as they are subject to more variable conditions such as wind, rough roads, and frequent temperature swings. Most RV service centers also service solar so when you take your vehicle in for service have them take a look at your solar system.
Clean your solar panels regularly and keep them free of debris
When rooftop solar on your home should be positioned away from trees to prevent shading and dropping of leaves and debris onto the panels. Large branches of shading and debris can significantly affect the performance and efficiency of solar panels. And the falling branches have the potential to damage them.
Whether rooftop solar panels or
ground mounted solar panels can accumulate dust or stains which can also reduce their efficiency. Cleaning your solar panels regularly is an effective way to ensure efficiency and extend panel lifespan. Solar panels can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth, household glass cleaner, and water. Do not use any corrosive solvents, abrasives, or hard objects when cleaning panels.
Quality solar panels are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. But keep in mind, that high wind can bring leaves, branches, and other debris affecting a panel’s performance by blocking individual solar cells. If solar cells are blocked by debris for a long period of time, this may even cause a hot-spot effect where the solar panels can overheat damaging the panel and even causing a safety issue.
Snow and ice left on the panels may cause undercooling which can cause microcracks and other damage. It’s recommended to inspect and remove any snow and or ice from the panels after any significant accumulation.
Keep an eye on your batteries
The effectiveness of a solar system depends not only on solar panels but also on other system components. To set up a stable and flexible solar power system, you need solar panels to generate power, a charge controller that regulates the flow of electricity from the panels to the batteries, the
lifepo4 battery to store the energy, and an inverter to convert direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity that your household appliances required.
solar panel battery is a necessary component for RV and off-grid solar systems to store power generated by the solar panels. Battery storage has also become a popular option for home energy backup to use at night or during power outages.
Solar batteries can last between three and ten years depending on the type of battery. A good quality lithium-ion battery can last for more than 4,000 cycles (the number of times a battery is drawn down and then recharged). That’s a life span of about 10 years under typical use.
It’s important to keep in mind that the lifespan of a battery is lower than that of most solar panels. It’s not uncommon for consumers to replace batteriesbefore solar panels undergo significant degradation. When considering a system that includes the
solar battery, it’s important to consider maintenance and replacement costs of the batteries. Like solar, good installation and regular maintenance will maximize the lifespan of a battery.
Start Going Solar with Renogy
Since 2010, Renogy has been working on making solar power available to people as more as possible, with premium-quality solar products and accessible solar prices. At renogy, you can buy solar panels as well as a whole range of accessories needed for a complete solar power system such as battery chargers,
solar power generator, and more.
Related articles for references:
- Product Review: 50 Amp Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
- What to Know About Deep Cycle Batteries for Solar Storage
- Solar Battery Charger Guide
- Embracing Portable Solar Charging with Renewable Energy Technology
- Choosing a Solar Battery Trickle Charger Maintainer