Homeowners who are looking to go solar have a lot of questions. It’s a big decision and serious investment, so, naturally, they want to understand every last detail about buying and owning a new solar system. Questions range from “How much will my system cost?” to “Do my panels work in bad weather?” At Blue Raven Solar, it is our goal to educate our customers and answer any and all questions before we help them make the switch.
Today, we’ll be answering one of the most popular customer questions: How long will my solar panels last?
This is a huge question when it comes to buying versus leasing solar power systems. If solar panels didn’t last that long, you’d be at risk of being stuck with an ineffective and broken down system that becomes more of an expensive hassle than a money-saving necessity. Luckily, this isn’t the case.
Buying a solar system is an investment that won’t die on you in a few years. But let’s dig into the details on the life expectancy of solar panels.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last???
Solar panels are made to last several decades. In fact, the first modern solar panel is still producing energy more than 60 years after its creation, which is pretty promising. Every year, solar panel manufacturers discover new tech to incorporate into their panels, making it impossible to know exactly how long the latest and greatest panels will last.
Despite this uncertainty, most solar installers provide their customers with warranties of 10-25 years. These warranties can guarantee energy production, cover install repairs, and protect your panels from defects or malfunctions.
Thus, it is safe to say that your panels will last for many years and probably several decades, providing you with a powerful source of renewable energy. However, it’s important to ask and answer this question: Will solar panels maintain their energy production throughout their lifetime?
Solar Panel Degradation
Just like any product, gadget, or source of energy production, solar panels will slowly become less efficient at producing electricity, no matter the brand or provider. This reduction in production, known as solar panel degradation, occurs when tiny cracks build up within the solar cells, causing electrical connections to deteriorate. These “microcracks” are caused by humidity entering the system, freezing of the solar cells, flexing from heavy winds, UV damage, and thermal cycling, which occurs when materials within the solar panel expand and contract at different rates due to temperature change, straining the joints between materials and causing deterioration.
Left out in the elements, all solar power systems are prone to normal wear and tear. However, with proper installation and simple maintenance, most solar panels can avoid major degradation and failure. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that most solar panels have degradation rates of only 0.3-0.8% per year, depending on panel quality.
This means that over a 25-year span, a panel is expected to have an energy production rate that starts at 100% efficiency and drops incrementally to about 80% efficiency by the end of that time span. So even after 25 years, you can still count on your system for a significant power output. Fortunately, with careful attention and proper maintenance, you can increase the life of your solar panels and prevent serious degradation.
What can I do to increase the life and efficiency of my solar panels?
All solar panel owners can extend the lifetime and efficiency of their system by performing 4 easy actions:
- Monitor solar panel output – You can do this by simply checking the panels’ output each month. Monthly solar panel output gives you insights into how well your panels are functioning; and be sure to report any serious reduction in output to your installers. Being aware of the energy production of your solar panels is one of the easiest ways to detect potential problems.
- Rinse panels with water – Generally, with a quick wash any dust, dirt, or pollen will be removed from your panels. Clean panels will absorb more light and produce more electricity. If you keep your panels clean and rinse them often, it’s far less likely that buildup will harm the solar system or prevent optimum production.
- Remove snow and ice carefully – Snow and ice are tricky because they can block valuable light from getting to your panels; however, they can also be dangerous to remove, both for your panels and you. Thus, it is important to buy and use proper tools to remove any snow or ice to make sure you avoid scratching or damaging the solar panels. Panel owners can also wait for the sun to melt the snow off their panels, which is perfectly safe and often the best option. Snow and ice melt off solar panels faster than off the ground or even your roof because they generate a bit of heat, which clears them off faster. However, in cases of extreme snow and ice, be careful when cleaning the panels.
- Visually inspect the hardware – Because most systems come with a 25-year warranty, it is a smart idea to routinely make a visual inspection of your panels. By performing routine checks on your panels, potential problems can be prevented or lessened. Some problems to look for include: rusted mounting bolts, solar panel defects, or fraying wiring, among others. If there seem to be any problems with your panels, call your installer and have a professional come give them a look.
With a few routine checks and simple cleaning, your solar panels will continue to perform at their highest capacity, cutting the cost of your electric bills and saving you money. See how much you can save today by using our Estimate Savings Calculator, where you can receive an accurate, zero-commitment savings report on going solar.
Blue Raven Solar Warranties
At Blue Raven Solar, all of our solar panels include a 25-year manufacturer warranty, plus a 10-year workmanship warranty. We do everything in our power to ensure our solar panels perform well for our customers’ total satisfaction. Here are the warranties we include to make sure your panels last as long as possible:
- 25-year product warranty: All of our solar panels come with a 25-year product warranty, which means our solar systems provide our customers with hundreds in savings every month for decades to come.
- 10-year workmanship warranty: Each homeowner who chooses Blue Raven Solar will have a 10-year workmanship warranty. This allows our customers to get free repairs on any install or workmanship errors for their first decade with their solar system.
- Total customer satisfaction: Lastly, for customers whose solar systems are underperforming compared to the expected rates, we make sure to cover the costs to get the system performing as it should.
It is our goal to make homeowners’ lives better by providing them with a solar power system that will save them money and give them electricity independence.
Blue Raven Process
Tapping into that electricity independence only comes when you buy solar, which gives you the power to control and own your own energy, rather than paying another company to lease. Though buying can seem overwhelming, we’re here to help! You can start by seeing how much you can save today by using our Estimate Savings Calculator, where you can receive an accurate, zero-commitment savings report on going solar.
If you choose to take the next step, we will schedule a contractor visit to survey your unique situation and design a solar power system specific to your property’s needs. This personalized visit will ensure that the solar system design not only produces the most power (depending on weather conditions, direction of solar panels on the roof, etc.), but it is also vital in planning against possible wear and tear on the panels. We do everything in our power to keep your panels lasting for decades to come.
And no matter where we might be in the process, we want you to feel free to ask questions. Any concern of yours is a concern of ours. We want to help you see the lifelong benefits of owning solar panels—something we hope to share with everyone. It is our mission to provide homeowners across America with all the joys and advantages of going solar!
Still Have Questions?
We can help! Contact us with any of your questions!