A typical characteristic of investing in solar is the large upfront cost followed by decades of free energy from the sun.
So it is important to purchase quality components, including solar panels, inverters and mounting systems, which last a long time to spread out the upfront investment in the form of LCOE.
In simple terms, the longer key components in a solar installation continue to function, the cheaper the solar energy you get from your PV system.
Today, we’ll discuss how long do solar panels last, what impacts power degradation and how to maintain the panels to keep them working throughout the lifespan.
How long do solar panels last?
The typical lifespan of solar panels is around 25-30 years.
Since the solar panels do not have moving parts, minimal maintenance is required of the solar panels to keep them producing energy throughout their lifetime.
Given the long history of solar energy, you may find a lot of solar panels continue to generate energy past the 25-year mark, albeit at a much lower power output than the original state.
What causes solar panels to degrade over time?
Solar panels’ energy output degrades over time as the components break down gradually from exposure to the weather.
The green lines leading to infant and midlife failures are usually caused by poor product design, poor manufacturing quality and installation:
- Contact failure in the junction box
- Poor soldering
- Broken glass and frame
- Cracked solar cells
- Diode failure
- Cracked backsheet
The orange and black areas are considered the normal wear-out of solar panels within a normal, functional PV installation.
The normal wear-out failures are usually caused by UV exposure, thermal expansion and humidity over time:
- Degradation of anti-reflective coating on the solar glass
- EVA discolouration due to UV exposure
- Delamination of EVA and backsheet
- Corrosion of solar cells and interconnection
The severity of the wear-out mechanisms varies from brand to brand.
It’s up to different manufacturers to protect end customers with product warranties that guarantee long term power generation.
Choose solar panels with a better product warranty
While most solar panel manufacturers provide 15-year product warranties to cover any infant failures, WINAICO’s solar modules have an industry-leading 25-year product warranty to protect end customers from the rare occurrences of midlife failures as well.
Our 25-year power guarantee shows an annual power degradation of 0.53%, which is much lower than most other monocrystalline solar panels on the market.
The market-leading power guarantee shows our conviction in both product design and component selection that lead to slower wear-out defects in our products in the harshest of environments.
Make your solar panels last longer through regular maintenance
Even though solar panels do not have any moving parts, a good idea is to ask your installer or O&M provider to regularly examine your PV system.
A regular onsite checkup may discover the odd loose mounting screw, exposed wires and maintain overall system health.
All simple preventative measures can prevent falling panels in strong winds or fires from arcing wires.
Keep your panels clear of debris and shadows
Regular cleaning of your solar panels with a hose can keep your PV system performing well during long droughts.
While a panel-level monitoring system can help you identify low performing panels shaded by overgrown trees that might need pruning.
Even though microinverters and power optimizers can prevent individual solar panels from dragging the whole PV performance down, it’s better to nip the offending branches in the bud, to get uniform sunlight across all modules.
Make sure your solar installation is covered with insurance
For all the preparations you can make by choosing reputable solar panels, you may still need unique solar insurance to cover the unexpected.
Unforeseen disasters such as fire, lightning, storms, hail, flood and burglary may put an early end to your PV investment.
Depending on where you live, WINAICO customers may be eligible to purchase the unique 3-in-1 solar insurance that:
- Covers all unforeseen losses due to PV system damage
- Covers loss of income from interruption of service
- Protects against reduced energy yield
By combining high-quality solar components, regular maintenance and unique solar insurance, you can rest assured your solar panels will perform well through their expected lifespan.
To learn more about how WINAICO solar technologies can help with your rooftop energy production, please get in touch with us.