How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Discover how long solar panels last, including factors affecting their longevity, plus tips on maintenance & recycling.

Toby
February 14, 2024
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The question, "How long do solar panels last?" is central to evaluating the viability and the financial feasibility of solar panel installation. It's a question that encompasses not just the expected lifespan but also the value they provide over time. 

Solar panels are indeed designed for endurance, often capable of providing clean energy for several decades. However, their operational lifespan can vary and is influenced by multiple factors, which merits a closer look.

Understanding Solar Panel Lifespan

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by the lifespan of solar panels. What we’re referring to is the length of time they can produce electricity at an economically viable level - often the benchmark would be set at 80% efficiency.

The industry standard for solar panel lifespan typically falls between 25 to 30 years. In other words, you should expect your solar panels to be at 80% plus efficiency levels for the first 25 to 30 years of ownership. However, it's important to note that they don't stop working abruptly after this time. Instead, what happens is a gradual decline in efficiency, commonly known as the 'degradation rate'.

The lifespan of your solar panels is impacted by several factors, including: 

  1. Build Quality: The materials and construction quality of the panels play a significant role. Superior materials can withstand environmental rigours for a longer period.
  2. Installation: A correctly installed solar system by certified professionals maximises the longevity of your solar panels.
  3. Climate: Adverse weather conditions such as hail, high winds, and rapid temperature changes can adversely affect solar panels.
  4. Upkeep: Much like any other significant investment in your home, solar panels require maintenance to ensure they operate optimally throughout their lifespan. 

The Role of Warranties

Solar panel installations at MakeMyHouseGreen are backed by three comprehensive warranties, each designed to provide you with peace of mind and assurance in the quality and longevity of your investment. 

1. Performance Guarantee Warranty

We offer a 25-year Performance Guarantee Warranty. This ensures that your solar panels will maintain at least 85% of their original capacity for a quarter of a century, affirming their long-term efficiency and reliability.

2. Product Warranty

Our Product Warranty extends for 12 years, covering any defects that might occur during the manufacturing process. This warranty safeguards you against any manufacturing-related issues, ensuring your solar panels are free from such faults.

3. Workmanship Warranty

To cover the installation aspect, we provide a Workmanship Warranty lasting 5 years. This warranty is crucial as it covers any potential problems that could arise from the installation process itself, giving you additional security and confidence in our installation expertise.

How To Maximise Your Solar Panel's Life

To ensure that you get the most out of your solar panels, proper maintenance is key. By following a few simple yet effective steps, you can significantly prolong their lifespan and maintain optimal performance:

1. Regular Panel Cleaning

Keeping your solar panels clean is crucial. Dust, debris, and other residues can accumulate on the panels, hindering their ability to absorb sunlight efficiently. Regular cleaning ensures they continue to capture the maximum amount of solar energy.

2. Routine Inspection and Timely Repairs

Scheduling regular professional inspections of your solar panel system is essential. These checks help identify small issues early on, which can be addressed before they escalate into larger, costlier problems. Prompt repair of any detected faults maintains the integrity and efficiency of your solar installation.

3. Consistent System Monitoring

Monitoring the energy output of your solar panels is another vital practice. This not only helps you keep track of your energy savings but also aids in the early detection of any performance issues. If your system’s energy production drops, it could indicate a problem requiring attention.

By adhering to these maintenance practices, you ensure that your solar panels operate at peak efficiency, thereby maximising your return on investment. For more information on solar panel maintenance & cleaning, refer to the linked guide. 

Signs of Aging in Solar Panels

As solar panels age, they may show signs of wear that can affect their performance. Here's what to watch for:

1. Visual Damage - Regularly inspect your solar panels for any visible signs of damage. This could include cracks in the panel, yellowing, or other forms of deterioration. These physical changes can impact the panels' ability to absorb sunlight efficiently.

2. Decrease in Energy Output - Pay attention to any consistent drop in the energy output of your solar panels. A reduction in efficiency could indicate that your panels are ageing and may need maintenance or replacement.

Is It Time for an Update?

As our energy needs evolve and solar technology advances, it's crucial to periodically reassess whether your current solar panel setup still meets your needs. Upgrading your system might be a strategic move, especially with newer, more cost-effective, and more efficient solar options now available. 

To evaluate whether an upgrade is right for you, consider using MakeMyHouseGreen’s solar panel calculator. This tool can provide you with an updated assessment of your energy needs and potential savings with newer solar technologies. It's an easy way to see if upgrading your solar panels aligns with your current and future energy goals.

Going Beyond Lifespan: Solar Panel Disposal and Recycling

Solar panels contain valuable materials, such as glass, metal, and silicon, which can be efficiently recovered and repurposed through proper recycling. By engaging in the right recycling programs, we ensure that these materials are not wasted in landfills. Instead, they continue to serve the planet in new forms. Advanced recycling techniques enable the recovery of up to 90% of a solar panel's materials, thus contributing to a circular economy and reducing waste.

We are committed to guiding our customers on how to responsibly recycle their solar panels at the end of their service life. This commitment to sustainability is a core part of our ethos, ensuring that the environmental benefits of solar panels extend beyond their years of energy production. For more detailed information on solar panel recycling and how you can participate in these eco-friendly practices, please visit our comprehensive guide linked above.

Our Solar Panel Calculator

In answering the question, "How long do solar panels last?", we see that solar panels are not just about their operational lifespan but also about the enduring value they offer. Designed for resilience, solar panels typically maintain efficiency for 25 to 30 years, gradually declining thereafter. This lifespan is influenced by factors such as build quality, installation, climate conditions, and regular upkeep.

At MakeMyHouseGreen, we support this longevity with comprehensive warranties, ensuring that your panels perform optimally for decades. Our Performance Guarantee, Product, and Workmanship Warranties protect you from manufacturing defects and installation issues.

Thinking about installing solar panels or looking to optimise your current setup? Use the MakeMyHouseGreen solar panel calculator for a personalised analysis. This tool will help you evaluate the efficiency and potential savings for your specific situation, guiding you towards making informed decisions about your solar energy needs.

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