What Is The Typical Solar Panel Lifespan?

Solar panels are a true workhorse; if taken care of properly, they can last for decades. 

In the past, solar energy in Canada was more of a pipe dream than a practical solution for powering homes. 

But thanks to the leaps and bounds in technology and the decreasing costs, solar panels are now a much more common sight. 

As more and more people want to make their lifestyle sustainable, solar energy is becoming a vital part of this drive. 

Going solar allows you to switch to clean, renewable energy and say goodbye to high utility bills. 

However, one question often asked is: What is the typical solar panel lifespan? Let’s look at details you might have missed to know the answer. 

Typical Solar Panel Lifespan

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, have a lifespan of over 25 years and can be an excellent investment for homeowners. 

The efficiency of solar panels usually declines after around 25 years of use, so it’s important to consider replacement after this time. 

However, many panels installed in the 1980s still function well today, indicating that solar panels are built to last.

Homeowners who invest in solar panels can typically achieve a break-even point within 8 to 10 years after installation. 

After this, continued high-level energy production for an additional 15 years can lead to significant savings. 

It’s worth noting that solar panel warranties typically cover the panels themselves, but there are also warranties for related equipment, which can help with damage from extreme weather or accidents.

Solar panels naturally produce less energy over time, known as degradation. This means that after 25 years, a solar panel will typically operate at around 90% of its original output. 

Although it’s rare for panels to stop working, their efficiency can decrease enough over time to consider replacement.

Why Does The Lifespan of Solar Panels Shorten?

Solar panel systems gradually lose their efficiency over time due to various factors such as weather and natural degradation. 

The degradation rate refers to the decrease in the panels’ chemical effectiveness. The decline happens progressively over many years.

When selecting solar panels, it is crucial to consider the degradation rate. Panels with lower degradation rates will be more productive over their lifespan. 

High-quality panels generally have lower degradation rates compared to lower-quality ones. 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that the average solar panel loses 0.8% of its efficiency annually. Still, some premium brands offer panels with degradation rates as low as 0.3%, extending their lifespan beyond 40 years.

Weather conditions are also an essential factor that affects solar panel longevity. 

Windstorms can damage panels, heavy snow can affect their structure, and hail can break the glass. Manufacturers design panels to withstand such conditions.

Installation factors such as the connection system and roof condition are crucial to ensure optimal sun exposure for maximum efficiency. 

South-facing orientations are ideal for maximum sunlight absorption throughout the day.

The condition of your roof is also vital. Installing panels on sturdy roofs in good condition is essential to avoid potential damage or leaks. 

It is always recommended to use trusted installers for any solar panel installation.

Finally, your local climate should also be considered. Excessive heat can lower a solar system’s energy production. 

Proper installation should account for your area’s climate, ensuring sufficient airflow to keep panels at an optimal operating temperature.

When To Replace Solar Panels

Solar panels are built to last decades and can endure extreme weather like heavy snow, strong winds, and even hail. 

They require minimal maintenance due to their need for moving parts. 

However, factors like dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and leaves can accumulate on the panels and reduce efficiency. 

While rain often cleans them, professional cleaning might be needed if their performance drops. 

It’s also essential to keep panels clear of shade from branches, which can decrease output and pose a risk during storms.

The leading indicator for replacing solar panels is a significant drop in electricity production. 

Remember, the degradation rate of panels has improved over time, so older models may degrade faster than newer ones. 

Monitoring tools, like apps or physical trackers, can help you track your panels’ electricity generation and assess their degradation rate. 

A decrease in output doesn’t always mean immediate replacement, but it’s wise to start planning for future upgrades.

Gridworks Energy: Installers of High-Quality, Long-Lasting Solar Panels 

Contacting your solar provider is best if you need to be equipped to handle panel obstructions or damage. 

Regular maintenance checks are crucial for optimal performance. 

Keep an eye on your electric bills and energy usage for any unusual changes, as these could signal an electrical issue needing professional attention.

When investing in solar panels, research their lifespan and perform simple maintenance steps. 

Choose a solar company with a solid track record, good customer service, and positive reviews. 

With over 20 years in the industry, Gridworks Energy offers high-quality solar panels in Edmonton.

If you’re considering solar energy, Gridworks Energy is a reliable choice to get started.


You might also like: