How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

If you’re thinking about adding solar panels to your home or business, this is certainly one of the questions that you need to ask yourself. How long do solar panels last? As with any item, there’s a range of how long panels last. That means that you won’t necessarily be able to predict exactly how long your solar power system will be up and running. 

The range that we discussed as the answer to how long solar panels last is 20 to 30 years. There have been cases where panels have reportedly remained in service for 40 years. You could extend the life span of some of these, but at times, it may not be worth it. The older panels may not be able to harvest the right amount of sunlight to power your home anymore after some time. To ensure that your panels last 30+ years, proper maintenance is the key.

What Can Cause Solar Panels to Breakdown Before the 20-Year Mark?

There are a few things that could actually cause solar panels to break down. The most common issue has to do with accidents. Suppose that during a storm, a tree branch falls on some panels and damages them. The same thing could happen in a strong wind, for example. That’s why the installation process is key to the overall duration of solar panels. In very windy areas or places where heavy storms are common, these panels need to be nailed down correctly to ensure they stay in place.   

Another consistent problem is moisture bleeding into the panel. Many people are worried about dust and other things limiting the amount of sunlight panels harvest. While proper maintenance can help extend their lifespan, moisture may be a bigger enemy than people realize, especially if the panels already have some type of crack that can allow water to bleed through. That’s one of the main things to look out for!  

How Long Do Solar Panels Last – Do All Panels Last the Same?

Brand, size, and building materials are all elements that differentiate panels. It’s very important to understand the quality of the items that you’re buying. This is not a general rule, but if the budget that you’re getting from a company is way below the national average, you may want to start asking why.  

There’s another thing to keep in mind here as well. The size of the panels could, in fact, help harvest more sunlight. In certain positions, though, that same size could make them more vulnerable. There are no guarantees in the sense that smaller panels can last longer. Still, the size of the panels and where they are set up are very important decisions. That’s why both the installation process and the type of system that’s put in place are so important. They can dictate the answer to the question: how long do solar panels last? Even if it’s in a way that no one was intending.     

Is There a Way to Predict How Long Solar Panels Will Truly Last? 

To think that anyone can have a crystal ball and get a sense for how long panels are going to last is naive. As mentioned, there are things that you can take into account in the installation process that can help durability. Suppose that the panels are set up in a wide-open area with no trees in sight. If that’s the case, then there’s obviously going to be less of a chance of one of them being struck and damaged.  

A warranty from either the manufacturer or the installing company could be key here. That could be one of the best ways to have some peace of mind about your system’s durability. In most cases, solar energy is a long-term investment. Your ROI as a homeowner depends on the system not failing you for at least 15 to 20 years. That’s why any type of assurance that you can get from anyone in this case could be key!   

Solar Panel Care      

Regularly cleaning solar panels is one of the best ways to get them to last longer. It’s regularly recommended that you have professionals perform this service. What you don’t want to do is miss the fact that one of the panels has a crack, for example. You just go out and spray all of them with a hose and think that you’re doing a good thing. Instead, that moisture stays in there and ends up ruining the panel. 

The cleaning service is also a perfect moment to check on the integrity of the equipment. It could also be a good time to see if the panels are still performing adequately. Just like a phone battery, the capacity at which these operate generally decreases over time. That’s why they have a lifespan. You could keep them out there for 40+ years, but you wouldn’t get the efficiency of a new system. Especially with what we hope to have available in 40 years!

If you want more clarity on how solar power systems work, talk to the Solar Energy Consultants. They can always point you in the right direction.

John Dix

John Dix

My entire goal through our Blog here at Sun Energy Consultants is to educate and inform you on all things solar so you can make the best decision for you and your family.


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