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People love saving money, and the idea of lowering utility bills by using the power of the sun to generate electricity sounds appealing. However, people sometimes wonder if they will recoup their initial expenditure. Before making a significant investment, homeowners and business owners naturally want to know how long solar panels last.

The good news is that solar panels last long enough to generate a return on investment and a very nice ROI typically too. Homeowners who use solar panels reap an abundance of advantages — including lower energy costs, increased property value, and a smaller carbon footprint — for decades, all thanks to the sun’s rays.

People hoping to save money by powering their homes or businesses using solar energy frequently ask, “how long do solar panels last?” In this article, we examine the lifespan of a solar panel and how to get the most out of your solar panel system.

solar panel on roof top

What is the lifespan of a solar panel?

When deciding if going solar is right for you, it’s important to understand upfront that solar panels don’t last forever. You’ll eventually need to replace the panels to continue experiencing the financial benefits of powering your home or business with solar energy.

Solar panels are an excellent investment, but they have a limited life expectancy. Based on industry norms, a solar panel’s useful life expectancy is between 25 and 30 years. While a significant drop in output is seen in the solar panel’s performance after that, it’s important to note that a solar panel system will offset your electricity costs for decades.

To understand how you will benefit financially from using solar panels, talk to an installation specialist who can help you decide what’s right for you. The amount you save by reducing your electricity bill typically pays for the solar panels in just a handful of years.

What causes the reduction of performance of a solar panel?

Degradation is the main reason for a solar panel’s lessening productivity. Degradation in solar panel systems results in a decrease in performance over time. The amount of degradation that a solar panel system experiences depends on many factors, including the type of solar panels installed, the age of the system, the climate conditions, and the amount of sunlight exposure. Generally speaking, solar panels should be productive energy generators for at least 25 years if they are properly maintained.

Our solar energy experts will listen to your unique needs and help you choose the best solar panel option for your home or business.

Why do solar panels degrade?

Solar panels degrade for various reasons, the most common of which is exposure to the elements. Over time, exposure to UV radiation and inclement weather causes solar panels to degrade. The metal frames that hold the panels in place can also corrode over time. Other factors that contribute to solar panel degradation include overheating and electrical faults.

Solar energy is becoming more and more popular as people look for ways to save money and be more environmentally friendly. But there is a lot to consider, including the lifespan of your solar panels. Our solar panel installation specialists are happy to explain how solar panel degradation impacts your investment in solar panels.

solar panel on roof by ocean

What Is the Degradation Rate of Solar Panels?

On average, solar panels degrade approximately ½% each year. This means that at around year 10, the panels are operating at about 95%, and at year 20, their performance is around 90%. However, in the solar panel sector, deterioration rates of less than 1% are becoming more and more typical as solar panel technology advances. By the time you need new solar panels, the replacement panels will be more efficient and last longer.

In addition, solar panels come with a variety of manufacturer warranties that might give you an idea of how long your panels will last. It is common for manufacturers to give both an equipment warranty and a performance warranty to ensure that your solar panels produce a particular quantity of power. The length of warranties offered on solar panels, which are typically 25 years, shows you the confidence manufacturers have in the longevity of solar panels.

How can I make my solar panels last longer?

Some factors contributing to solar panel degradation can be controlled, while others cannot. Fortunately, there are several ways in which you may maximize the lifespan of your solar panels.

For starters, work with dependable solar panel installation experts ready to guide you to make the best decisions for your situation. Ask questions about the type of panels they use, and then research the quality of the product. A first-rate solar company will work with manufacturers who provide high-quality materials.

To extend the life of your solar panels, there are also things you can do yourself. For example, make sure to clear the solar panels of any twigs, snow, or other debris to prevent interference with the energy output of your solar panels. High quality solar systems include monitoring software so you can spot drops in power generation and correct the problem right away. 

There are no moving parts in solar panels, so they don’t need regular maintenance. While it’s recommended to hose down the panels once or twice a year in the cool mornings, many people opt to let the rain take care of the work. In rare situations, solar panels need maintenance. If that happens, our stellar Service Department will gladly get your system back to peak performance. 

So in conclusion, solar panels are a great financial investment with an excellent ROI. They produce power and reduce your utility bill in a fraction of their lifespan. They have no moving parts and very little maintenance. And they improve your property value while doing a little good for the planet.