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How long do Solar Panels Last?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

And, what kind of replacements can you expect to make over the life of ownership?

Cleaning to extend the life of Solar Panels
Solar Panels

The question of solar panel longevity is one of the most common questions we get asked. In this blog, we delve into the true lifespan of these silent renewable energy panels, with insights from our experience, the solar manufacturers, and the Department of Energy.

A Timeline Measured in Decades

The industry benchmark for solar panel lifespan is an impressive 25 to 30 years, during which they reliably convert sunlight into electricity, although with a gradual decrease in efficiency over time due to a phenomenon known as degradation​​​​​​.

A Future Proofed by Warranties

Solar panels are not only designed to last for decades but come with warranties to match their robustness. Here's an overview of what these warranties typically cover:

Most panel warranties guarantee that your panels will operate at a minimum efficiency of 80% or more at the end of 25 years, which is less than a 1% decrease in efficiency every year.

For example, if you buy a 300-watt solar panel today, you can expect it still to produce at least 240 watts after 25 years. Even with the energy loss, your system is still generating 80% of its original output, and there's no reason you can't continue to use that power after the warranty expires. Often, you can offset the decrease in efficiency by adding an extra panel or two to your solar array

There are some things you can do to extend the life of your solar system. The first thing to be aware of is your part replacement schedule, and order extended warranties

You'll likely need to replace your inverter on average once every 25 years. Inverter warranties typically range between 10 to 25 years. If your inverter doesn't come with a 25-year warranty, you can usually purchase an extension.

if you have a battery-based system, the batteries will also need to be replaced on schedule. That can be anywhere from every 10 to 15 years, depending on the type of battery chemistry you choose and how well you care for them.

Lastly, simple and routine maintenance helps keep the panels in good shape and producing energy efficiently keep them clear of leaves, snow, and other debris and wipe them down once every few years it might make sense to clean them a bit more frequently and dry and dusty climates or for panel mounted at lower tilt angles

These warranties are pivotal in providing peace of mind and a measure of quality assurance, indicating a manufacturer's confidence in their product's long-term performance. For further details on solar panel warranties, you can visit the full guide at SolarReviews:

As to the Future

The National Renewable Energy Labs and DuraMAT are exploring ideas that could extend solar module lifetime up to 50 years while also looking at new variations of module and cell technologies, such as bifacial modules that also collect reflected light on their backsides, or new, high-efficiency cells that require advanced packaging to survive for longer than 30 years. Check out the full article linked below.

If you have any other questions about colorado solar panels longevity or just solar power in general, we're always happy to help. Give us a call at 303-815-9360.

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