How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels with sky in background

All of us can agree to the fact that we live in a wasteful and throwaway society. Our laptops and phones, in spite of the sophistication and technology that goes into them, last just for a few years before we have to replace them. Our cars last for a decade or so, if we diligently maintain it and take it for regular tune-ups. Frankly speaking, there are not a lot of things in our daily life that is durable, except for solar panels. When it comes to how long solar panels last, they are worth the investment.

Solar panels are in for the long haul. They do not have delicate motherboards, digital processors, pumps, flywheels or fans. They do not have moving parts that are in danger of breaking or wearing out. They require very little maintenance. All the components in a solar panel are durable and they include a glass protected silicon cell that is used for capturing the available sunlight. Basically, its only job is to sit in one place and absorb all the energy it can from the sun.

If you look around, you will notice that even the older panels that went up on rooftops decades ago still produce electricity quite efficiently. Well designed solar panels last at least three decades without maintenance. As a matter of fact, 30 years is just a conservative estimate. With the improvement in solar technology, the long-term performance of most of the solar panels has only gotten better with time. Most of the modern solar panels are as hardworking and humble as the old ones, apart from being more lightweight, stylish, and energy efficient.

BUT THERE HAS TO BE A CATCH

Annually, the efficiency of solar panels just decreases by half a percent. The loss in efficiency is mainly due to water vapor exposure and temperature fluctuations over a period of time which can exact a small cost from the materials and the coating. However, it means that even after thirty years, your solar panels will be 86 percent as efficient as the first time you installed them. If you think about it, you would not be able to name a single product that operates at 86 percent of its original efficiency after 30 year. The image below shows how long the efficiency of solar panels last over time.

Solar panel efficiency loss over time

Solar panel systems have inverters that might need replacing every decade. The job of the inverter is to take the energy that is produced by the solar panel and convert it into usable power. They have some more parts and wiring involved, but they are also highly durable and you have higher quality ones being introduced into the market by the day. Bear in mind that most of the solar systems on the market today come with a protection plan. So, if there is any part of the system that needs to be replaced or repaired, the company that does the installation will fix it for you at no cost.

THE LONG HAUL

Most of the durable things are highly resilient as they are simple and made from quality raw materials. Solar panels are conventionally made from crystalline silicon, which is covered with durable glass. In fact, there is a reason why scientists use them in space. That is in part due to the fact that they can generate electricity even in space and more so because they can endure the harshest conditions.

When the life of your solar panel finally does come to an end, they can be recycled. All the parts in the panel are separated into material streams and turned into brand new products. In our current world where nothing lasts forever, the owners of solar panel systems can glance up their roofs to reassure themselves that the disposable society has not completely permeated every single aspect of life.

HES Solar understands the durability of solar panels, therefore have no problem providing warranties on all of their installations and products. Check out HES Inc.’s warranties here: HES Solar Warranty. In addition, anyone interested in converting their home or business to solar energy can learn more here: Free San Diego Solar Consultation.

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