Solar energy panels have been getting a lot of air time in the last few years. From people who are environmentally friendly to those who are looking for ways to save money long term, there are many reasons why installing a solar energy system is a good idea.
While saving on energy bills, receiving tax credits, and reducing your individual carbon footprint all sound like great ideas, how sound is the investment? Will installing a system last for a long time, or would you have to provide regular maintenance or replace them regularly?
The lifespan of solar panels
Not all solar panels are created the same. Different households have different needs: A home in a hurricane-prone area or in a geographical location where hail is a regular occurrence will require sturdier panels than a home where none of these factors are an issue.
That being said, generally, the timeframe for solar panels is between 25 to 30 years. Some manufacturers extend their warranties for 20 years, while others will do so for the full 30 years. Even after two or three decades have gone by, the panels will continue working and generating electricity from solar energy. However, their efficiency will decrease.
Each brand has its own degradation rate, which can vary between 0.3% to 0.8% per year.
Amorphous panels have the shortest lifespan, with a degradation rate that significantly lowers after the first ten years. On the other hand, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels often outlast the 25-30 years life expectancy.
That being said, there are plenty of solar panels that were installed between 30 and 60 years ago and are still working well.
What Affects How Long Solar Panels Will Last?
Solar panels are designed to withstand harsh environmental elements, such as storms, high winds, hail, and snow. So what you really need to pay more attention to is (a) the type of materials used to make the panels, (b) the brand, and (c) whether they get caked with dirt and debris.
How To Make Solar Panels Last Longer
Solar panel maintenance is extremely simple and can help your panels work optimally:
1. Keep them clean. Since solar panels don’t have moving parts and they often lay flat, there isn’t much wear and tear that will shorten their lifespan. However, it is possible for dirt buildup to interfere with their ability to convert light particles into energy. Therefore, cleaning them regularly can help ensure that they absorb sunlight as efficiently as possible.
To clean them, check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific materials they may want you to avoid. Also, pick a cooler day or sometime in the early morning to do the job, since they can get really hot throughout the day. You can hose them down with a regular garden house, or wipe them with water and soap with a sponge. Only the top portions need to be cleaned. Doing this once a year should be enough, unless you live in a highly polluted city, then schedule time to do it twice a year.
2. Have your installer inspect them. While you can do the cleaning portion yourself, a professional installer can verify whether there are any exposed wires or if there are any issues with the racks that are holding them up. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how often to schedule these inspections and prioritize doing them. Failing to do so may result in voiding the warranty.
Learn More About Solar Energy Panels With the Help of Allied Siding & Windows
If you’re a Texas resident and you’ve been thinking about installing solar energy panels, don’t hesitate to contact Allied Siding & Windows! Contact us for more information about our services or stop by one of our showrooms in Austin, Dallas, or Houston!