Solar is a wonderful and secure investment because it can save you money on your power bills for decades. Solar panels should last for at least 25-years, with most manufacturers offering 25-year warranties to ensure that the panels will maintain a certain level of performance throughout their lifespan.

What Is the Average Lifespan of Solar Panels?

Depending on the type of warranty and panels you have, your system should still be able to produce 80-90% of its power capacity by the 25-year mark.

Solar panels never truly die out unless they’re physically damaged. You’ll see a very small decrease in output every year, which is known as the degradation rate. In fact, many panels from the 1980s are still perfectly functional today, meaning 40 years isn’t an unrealistic lifespan for solar panels. Realistically, you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing your solar panels for up to 30-40 years. 

What Is the Degradation Rate of Solar Panels?

The average degradation rate for solar panels is about 0.5% each year, although these rates may vary depending on the brand of panels you choose.

How exactly does this work? By the end of your panel’s first year and with a 0.5% degradation rate, it will still have 99.5% of its optimal output. When your 25-year warranty expires, your panels will still be working at 87.5%. You can generally find the degradation rate of your panels on the warranties provided by the manufacturers.

For instance, we use Longi and Canadian Solar panels with degradation rates ranging between 0.45%-0.6% depending on the model, with performance warranties of up to 30 years for some Canadian Solar panels.

How Do I Know When It’s Time To Replace My Solar Panels?

Most people install solar panels to help them offset their electricity consumption and save on rising hydro bills. When your panels are no longer providing adequate energy for your home’s consumption needs, it might be time to start looking into replacing them with newer, more efficient models.

As we mentioned earlier, solar panels never truly die, which means you can keep them for as long as you feel they are financially and environmentally beneficial.

How Can I Make My Solar Panels Last Longer?

The best way to make sure your solar panels have a long and productive life is to purchase new panels from a reputable brand with extensive warranties. Most reliable brands will offer you at least a 10-year product warranty to protect you against damages or defects, along with a 25-year performance warranty.

A well-maintained solar system will also extend your panel’s lifespan. Don’t worry, maintenance won’t be as hard as it sounds. Solar PV systems don’t have any moving parts, making them easy to maintain. If you live in a hotter climate, you’ll simply need to rinse your panels off 2-4 times a year to get rid of any accumulated dust or debris. For colder climates, we don’t recommend cleaning snow off rooftop systems for safety reasons. Please know that the increase in production for the entire year would be approximately 5% which is not worth the risk of cleaning snow or ice off your panels.

Prevention is also an important aspect of keeping your panels running at a higher efficiency for as long as possible. If you’re deciding between installers, please check whether they offer extra protection through critter guard installation. Critter guards are crucial for keeping squirrels and other animals from living under your panels and damaging the equipment and wires.

Find A Reliable Solar Panel Installation Company

A reliable company can save you a lot of trouble in the long term. They can help check up on your panels on a regular basis and make sure everything is performing correctly.

If you do notice a problem or a sudden drop in production, a trustworthy installer can be easily contacted for help. We have a dedicated after-service team at Polaron to assist with any questions or concerns our customers may have after their installation. 

Solar may be a big investment, but the longevity and benefits of having solar panels make it completely worth it in the long run. Sign up with us today and connect with one of our solar specialists for a free quote to get your solar journey started. 

Sources:

Recycling & End-of-Life Considerations for Photovoltaics

STAT FAQs Part 2: Lifetime of PV Panels

Solar panel maintenance: Everything you need to know