solar panels
02/13/2019

How Long Should My Solar Panels Last?

A solar panel system is an investment, so one of the first questions that people ask is how long they can expect their panels to last. This is a good question that has a fairly straightforward answer: typically 25-30 years. However, there is more to this answer than what meets the eye. It’s likely that your solar panels will last much longer than this.

Let’s cover this topic in more detail so that you can have a better understanding of your solar system’s lifespan.

Most Warranties are Good for 25 Years

Solar panels are generally warrantied for 25 years, so you can expect your system to last at least this long. In reality, you can expect your panels to last much longer, just as a refrigerator lasts longer than its one year warranty.

With that being said, it is important to know that solar panels do lose their efficiency over time. After 25 years, energy production declines by a “significant” amount according to manufacturers, hence the reason why the warranty ends around this time. How much is a “significant” amount? Let’s find out.

Studies show that solar panels lose around 0.8% efficiency each year. Some brands will have less or more degradation, but the good news is that as technology improves, this rate is getting smaller and smaller. However, to be on the safe side you should assume that your panels lose around 1% efficiency each year. With these numbers, your panels will still be producing energy at 75-85% of their rated output in 25 years.

What Happens after 25 Years?

According to an NREL study, 80% of solar panels live longer than their warranties. So, if your warranty is up and your solar panels are still producing energy, there is no reason to replace them. But, you do want to take extra precautions to care for your solar system since it will no longer be under warranty. Be prepared to replace batteries and inverters to keep things running.

Additionally, plan to get your solar panels checked by your installer each year. This quick inspection ensures that there are no areas of concern, such as exposed wires or loose racking. This is also a good time to check for animals nesting under the panels or branches that need to be pulled away from the roof.

When manufacturers talk about solar panel systems, it’s usually in regard to the 25-year warranty. However, solar panels typically last much longer than this, though with decreased efficiency. Still, this is not a reason to replace your solar panels, as they will still be capable of producing solar energy for your home.

To learn more about residential solar panels and how long you can expect them to last on your property, contact Suntuity Solar today.