If you’re planning to install a solar power system at your home or business, one of the questions you might have is, how long do solar panels last? And this is a valid question because you wouldn’t want to invest in something that will fall apart after a short period. There are different types of solar panels, but generally, they can last anywhere between 25 and 30 years. Over the years, solar panels are subjected to slow degradation, but certain factors can minimize or preserve their lifetime. If you want to switch to solar energy, you can contact SEM Power. The manager of SEM Power says that solar panel installation is the best way to cut energy costs at your home and business.
Can You Make Solar Panels Last Longer?
Solar panels are typically made with sturdy and quality material that makes them durable. It’s standard for solar companies to perform tests to determine that their solar panels can easily absorb impact from winds, rain, snow, and other natural hazards. They typically don’t have any moving parts, and their maintenance costs are next to nothing. The most important tip in buying long-lasting solar panels is partnering with a reputable solar company that provides excellent customer service. It’s also important to buy a solar panel that comes with a generous warranty. There’s nothing you can do to surpass the designated lifetime of a solar panel, but proper maintenance will greatly slow down the degradation process.
Causes of Solar Panel Degradation
Solar energy is an efficient means of powering your home or business. But through its lifetime, a solar panel experiences degradation, which incrementally lowers the energy output. The average degradation rate is 0.5% annually, and by the time 25 to 30 years are over, the energy output is down by roughly 12-15%. Various things affect the rate of degradation.
1. Light-Induced Degradation
The interaction between the crystalline silicon cells in the solar panel with light can lead to degradation. Also, poor installation can make for light-induced degradation, where some vulnerable parts are exposed to harsh light. Additionally, exposure to UV rays can cause the silicon particles on the solar panel to experience a reaction that can lessen its efficiency.
2. Potential Induced Degradation
This type of degradation has an internal cause, and it typically lowers the module’s capacity to generate energy. This problem usually arises when different components of the solar panel have different voltages. It can lead to interruptions that ultimately lessen energy output.
3. Age Induced Degradation
Solar panels are typically placed on the roof, and while there, they are subjected to various conditions that, over time, induce degradation. Weather changes can subject the solar panel to harsh conditions that would cause reactions, corrosions, and contamination. All these external and environmental factors have an impact on the solar panel, and they encourage degradation.
Factors that Control the Rate of Degradation
A quality solar panel can retain its efficiency for up to 30 years, but certain things could severely limit its lifetime. The following are some of the factors that control the degradation rate of solar panels.
1. Quality of Material
If a solar panel is constructed with low-grade materials, the solar panel ends up being less insulated against various external and environmental factors, and this sharply increases its degradation rate. And so, when buying solar panels, you need to focus on whether the material is of superior quality.
2. Panel Assembly
The solar panel may be made out of high-grade material and yet experience a higher degradation rate if the panel assembly is not harmonious. If the components are incompatible, it can lead to disruptions and subsequent reduction of energy output.
One of the most underrated tips in preserving the lifetime of a solar panel is the installation stage. It needs to be handled properly to avoid tiny cracks, residues, and deposits. The installer needs to be careful that everything is done well. Poor installation tendencies can greatly undermine the lifetime of a solar panel.
One of the factors that draw people to solar energy systems is their little maintenance costs. But then again, solar panels are not a set-and-forget kind of system. You need to monitor them from time to time to preserve their efficiency. Solar panels usually sit on the roof; it’s important to examine them regularly, especially after passionate weather conditions like snow or rainstorm. Lack of regular maintenance can severely limit its lifetime.
The change of weather conditions comes with unstable temperatures, and thus leading to expansion and contraction of essential components. Solar panels that are exposed to adverse weather conditions suffer a considerably higher degradation rate. Use protective covers to deter weather-induced damage.