What Is the Average Lifespan of Home Solar Panels? The Reality You Can Expect
By the end of 2020, the United States boasted 97.2 gigawatts of total solar capacity installed. That’s enough solar energy to power over 17 million homes.
Those figures are sure to rise further, thanks to the extension of the federal tax incentive. That’s right: you can still get a 26% credit if you install home solar panels by 2021 or 2022. You can then start saving on energy bills from day one throughout the entire lifespan of your panels.
Having said that, you may be wondering how long solar panels for home use last. We’ll answer that and more questions in this guide, so be sure to read on.
How Long Do Home Solar Panels Last On Average?
Solar panels, also known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, can stay in service for at least 25 years. Some can even last for 30 years or longer. Either way, this is one reason most solar PV makers and installers offer at least 20 years of warranty.
What Happens After?
Suppose you invest in solar panels for your home with a 25-year lifespan rating. Does this mean they’ll stop working after 25 years?
Not at all; depending on their quality, they can still generate solar energy for many years. However, you can’t expect them to produce the same amount of energy as they did 25 years ago.
That’s because solar panels experience degradation over time. According to experts, their yearly degradation rate is 0.5% on average. In this case, your panels’ production can go down from 100% to 90% in 20 years or 87.5% after 25 years.
Let’s say your new solar PV system’s maximum output is 5 kilowatt-hours of energy a day. With a 0.5% degradation rate, this can go down to 4.975 kWh after the system’s first year of operation. After 25 years, its output can go down to just 4.375 kWh.
As you can see, the degradation rate isn’t that bad because it occurs slowly. That’s why solar panels can still generate a lot of energy even after decades. In fact, according to https://blueravensolar.com/blog/how-long-solar-panels/, the first modern PV panel still works even after six decades of service!
What Can You Do To Lengthen Your Panels’ Lifespan?
An annual solar panel inspection and maintenance can help extend your system’s lifespan. This involves checking the hardware for defects, which inclement weather can cause.
Removing pollutants, such as dust, sand, and ash can also help keep your panels efficient. Do note that soiling on PV panels can reduce their energy production by 6.5% to 40%. You can simply rinse the PV modules with unpressurized water.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for snow or ice build-up on your panels, especially if they lie flat on your roof. This isn’t that big of a concern in tilted panels, as the slope lets snow slide down. Still, be sure to remove snow on your panels carefully before it hardens.
Invest in High-Quality Solar Panels Today
So long as you get high-quality home solar panels, you can expect them to be at least 90% efficient after 20 years. They will keep producing energy even after that, although at a slightly lower rate. Still, the impressive longevity of PV panels makes them a worthy home addition.
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