how long do solar panels last

How Long do Solar Panels Last?

How long will solar panels last?

When deciding whether or not to buy and install solar panels, cost is a major factor. You want to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. A major part of that is the durability and reliability of your solar panels. Why would you spend $10,000 – $20,000 on something that will only last 5 – 10 years? We decided to answer some frequently asked questions about durability, reliability, and solar panel life span.

Solar panels are made of glass, so will they break?

The short answer is that they can, but that they shouldn’t.

The solar cells themselves are very fragile, but they are protected by a thick layer of glass and a durable frame. Solar panels are designed and tested to withstand even the most extreme conditions, from freezing rain to golf ball sized hail at 80 km/hour. Our rule of thumb is: If it will damage or break your roof, it may damage or break your panels. If you are expecting that kind of damage, however, you may have bigger problems than the durability of your solar panels.

What kind of testing is done on solar panels?

Manufacturers test their panels quite extensively to ensure they are durable and reliable. Solar panels can go through a variety of tests including being placed in a humidity chamber, Thermal stress tests, UV stress tests, pressure tests and force tests (being hit with objects). These tests are used to ensure the panels do not yellow, crack, break, or have mechanical or electrical malfunctions.

When purchasing solar panels as a part of a full installation, your installer should recommend the best solar panels for your climate and conditions. This is one of the reasons it is so important to find a qualified contractor, to ensure their analysis and recommendations are sound and will provide you with the results you expect. Word of mouth is our primary way of obtaining business, so if you are not satisfied, we know you won’t recommend us. This is why it is so critical for us to make sure you get the most durable, and reliable solar panels possible.

Do solar panels malfunction?

They can. Although it is not common, a panel could have an issue that could prevent it from producing electricity. You can monitor the production of each panel or on the entire system by getting a monitoring system. Before getting solar panels, be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s warranty in the event that one of your panels does malfunction. You might also consider purchasing a spare panel you can keep in case one of the panels does malfunction or loses production. While you may still be covered by your warranty, this will allow you to replace the panel right away while you wait for a resolution (such as the shipment of a new panel).

Solar panel lifespan

Solar panels do degrade over time. With technological improvements continually slowing the process of solar panels degrading, solar panels produced today degrade far slower than those even 10 years ago, at approximately .5% a year for a monocrystalline silicon panel (commonly used in residential installations).  “That means that a panel manufactured today should produce 92% of its original power after 20 years”.

Extra Protection

Make sure your solar panels AND the installation (labour) is warrantied, either by the solar panel manufacturer and / or by your solar contractor. Don’t forget to also call your insurance provider to see if your solar panels are covered by your home insurance.

Have any other questions about solar panel longevity? Call or email us to get your questions answered!

 

Gridworks Energy

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