Do solar panels last forever you ask? No. However, their lifespan is impressive and with technology continuously improving, their longevity is only likely to continue increasing. It’s important to know how long your panels will last so you can get an indication of how long it should take you to recover the money laid out for them. That said, if you go to a trusted provider such as Caldor, where we will only install panels where it’s a worthwhile investment, you’re going to make savings within a few years. Let’s take a deeper dive into this question.
HOW LONG DO SOLAR PANELS LAST?
Solar panels are said to last between 25-30 years but they don’t just suddenly bite the dust, their efficiency starts to slide off slowly. Solar panels will actually continue to work for an undetermined amount of time provided they remain physically intact. It’s after the 25-30 year mark that manufacturers have found the efficiency to have declined to a point at which they feel it’s best to look at replacing them – at which time the newer panels in circulation will likely be even more advanced.
AFTER 25 YEARS, WHAT HAPPENS?
The majority of panels installed in Ireland are still under 10 years old. Due to the fact that PV technology is still relatively new there’s not a huge amount of data available that indicates what will happen after 25 years with the exception of a slow decrease in efficiency. A 2012 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found the solar panel degradation rate to be 0.8 percent each year but even this has improved since the research was conducted.
An added bonus of the lengthy lifespan is that you don’t need to worry about your solar panel’s carbon footprint. Over 25-30 years they will have produced enough clean energy to offset the energy that was used to make them in the first place. This is known as energy ‘payback’ time or EPBT.
AN INTERESTING SIDE NOTE
An interesting fact that unearthed itself while researching this blog was that Britain’s first ever solar panel was uncovered in 2010 and was found to still work after 60 years. While far more primitive than today’s panels, it was created by a science teacher who wanted to prove he could turn sunlight into electricity. He was clearly successful. More interesting facts about solar can be found here.
CAN YOU MAKE SOLAR PANELS LAST LONGER?
Obviously you want to optimise the lifespan of your panels and you can do it with a simple maintenance plan.
- The panels should be unobstructed and kept away from any overhanging trees and branches that could scratch the surface.
- Keeping the panels clean and free of debris is another factor to consider – it’s worth talking to your supplier at the point of installation and asking for advice based on where your panels are located. Professional advice is always good to have.
- Very occasionally or if you feel something might be amiss, get your panels vetted by a professional.
Outside the above the manufacturers should have done all the heavy lifting in testing the panels to ensure they can withstand the conditions they’re likely to inhabit. To that end they will often come with substantial warranties to give you peace of mind. You can read our product overview here for more information.
FINDING A SUSTAINABLE SOLAR SOLUTION FOR YOU HOME IS EASY
If you do your research (which, by getting to this point you seem to be doing) and look to a reliable and certified provider to get the products and results you want, finding a sustainable solar solution that suits your home/space and your requirements is easy. To find out more about the options available to you please get in touch and of course, it’s important to know what initiatives are in place to help you with such an investment – we’ve written about that here.