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Solar Panels: How Long Do They Last?

More than 130,000 residential solar panels systems were installed in the United States in the third quarter of 2021—a record-breaking quarter. It is easy to see why so many homeowners are making the switch to solar energy, given the environmental and cost-saving benefits.

Solar energy is infinite, clean, and renewable, which makes it a wonderful option in comparison to fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

If you are planning to make the switch to solar, an important question to consider is ‘How long do panels last?’ We will answer that question in this blog post and look at what you can do to extend the lifespan of your panels.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels will operate for approximately 25 years before degradation becomes noticeable. This doesn’t mean that the panels will need to be replaced. It simply means that their ability to absorb sunlight effectively will become reduced.

The rate of solar panel degradation refers to how quickly solar lose their ability to absorb sunlight effectively and convert it into electricity. If you are looking for the most effective and efficient solar panels, we recommend opting for a system with a lower degradation rate.

Solar panel systems can be classed into 3 tiers, which each have different degradation rates. Tier 1 is the best quality panels with an annual degradation rate of 0.3%. Tier 2 has an annual degradation rate is 0.5%, and Tier 3 has an annual degradation rate of 0.8%.

After 25 years, this means that each tier’s output will stand at:                            

  • Tier 1 – 93.04%
  • Tier 2 – 88.67%
  • Tier 3 – 82.47%

As you can see, even after a quarter of a century, each of these tiers will still offer a good level of output. With good care, panels can still be effective after 40 years.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Solar Panels

With routine care and maintenance, you can help to extend the lifespan of your solar panel system. While solar panels are built to withstand various weather conditions, it is recommended that you routinely clean them. Dirt and dust may lead to microcracks and scratches, and potentially breaks in the future.

If you notice any debris on your panels, you should remove them without delay. Solars are typically installed on a property’s roof, meaning that twigs, branches, and leaves may fall onto them.

We also recommend that you choose a solar installation company that provides routine maintenance checks. Click here to learn more about Blue Raven installers in Virginia.

The Average Solar Panel Lifespan

As this article highlights, homeowners can expect at least 25 years of strong output from roof solar panels. The exact solar panel lifespan depends on different factors, including the type of panels and the level of maintenance over the years.

Like this blog post on how long do solar panels last? Be sure to check out our other informative articles on a wide range of interesting topics.


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