Solar panels are designed to be durable and long-lasting, typically with a lifespan of 25 to 30 years. However, this estimate can vary depending on factors such as panel quality, manufacturer, environmental conditions, and maintenance. How long solar panels last can often depend on how well you treat them.
But by selecting high-quality panels, ensuring proper installation, and conducting regular maintenance, it’s possible to extend their lifespan beyond the expected range. With proper care, solar panels can continue generating clean and sustainable energy for decades. So in answer to the question: ‘how long do solar panels last’, the answer is ‘it depends’.
Below we are going to explore the factors influencing panel longevity, provide tips for extending their lifespan, discuss replacement considerations, and address performance decline over time, empowering you to make informed decisions for an efficient and enduring solar panel system.
Although Tier One panels may come with a higher initial cost, research shows that they can still deliver approximately 89% of their original output even after 25 years, demonstrating their exceptional durability and longevity. A solar panel’s lifespan can often be dictated by the quality of the solar panel manufacturers responsible for them, and the often impressive tech of the solar panels themselves.
Factors That Affect Solar Panel Life Expectancy
Solar panels are designed to be durable and have a long lifespan, typically ranging from 25 to 30 years. Often solar panel warranties will reflect this. However, several factors can influence the longevity of solar panels. Understanding these factors is essential for maximising the performance and lifespan of your solar panel system.
Quality of Materials and Manufacturing
The quality of materials and manufacturing processes greatly influences the lifespan of solar panels. High-quality solar panels undergo rigorous quality control measures and are constructed with durable components capable of withstanding environmental stress and degradation over an extended period. A solar installation with quality solar panels will often outlast those made with poorer materials and less advanced tech.
Temperature, humidity, UV radiation and weather can greatly affect the performance and durability of solar panels. Panels in harsh climates need suitable selection and maintenance to endure these environmental conditions. Installing solar panels that are inappropriate for the environment will mean solar panels degrade faster.
Maintenance and Care
In addition to the potential for cost savings on electric bills and the positive environmental impact, most solar panels are extremely low maintenance. However, to extend the lifespan of your solar panels it is highly recommended to carry out regular routine inspections, cleaning, and monitoring them for damage or performance issues.
Regularly cleaning your solar panels by removing dirt, debris, and shading obstructions, maximises efficiency and prevents issues from reduced sunlight exposure. As a result, solar panel efficiency will greatly increase.
The quality of solar panel installation plays a significant role in their longevity. Proper installation by an expert solar panel installer ensures that panels are securely mounted, aligned correctly, and connected properly to the electrical system. At Effective Home we’re a professional and trusted team of solar panel installers who follow industry best practices to minimise the risk of premature wear or damage to the panels, increasing the solar panel lifespan.
Whilst solar panels are highly durable they still undergo a slow rate of degradation over time that can impact their performance. However, investing in high-quality solar panels can significantly mitigate this effect. Solar panel degradation rate can be affected easily by the quality of the solar panels themselves.
High-quality panels are designed to have lower degradation rates, meaning they maintain a higher percentage of their original power output throughout their lifespan. By choosing high-quality solar panels, you can maximise their long-term performance and ensure that you continue to generate a higher amount of clean and sustainable energy over the years.
Technological advancements in solar panel manufacturing can also impact the longevity of panels. Newer technologies, such as improved cell designs, anti-reflective coatings, and enhanced encapsulation materials, can contribute to better performance and increased durability.
How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Solar Panels
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Solar panels last longer with efficient cleaning and maintenance. Regularly cleaning and keeping them free from debris is essential to optimise their efficiency and maximise sunlight absorption. By ensuring that solar panels are clean, you allow them to capture as much sunlight as possible, thereby increasing their energy generation potential.
Monitor for any shading obstructions that can cast shadows on your panels such as tree branches or nearby structures. To extend the lifespan of your solar panels, trim or remove any potential shading sources to prevent reduced energy production.
Monitoring System Performance
To effectively manage your solar panel system and ensure its longevity, it is crucial to utilise monitoring tools or software. These tools enable you to keep a close eye on your system’s performance by tracking energy production.
By regularly monitoring your solar panels, you can promptly identify any significant drops in output and take immediate action. This proactive approach ensures that your system operates optimally and allows you to address any issues promptly, maximising energy generation and overall efficiency.
Ensure your solar panels are properly weatherproofed to protect them from extreme weather conditions, such as storms, hail, or high winds. This helps prevent physical damage and extends their lifespan.
Keep up to date with advancements in solar panel technology and best practices for maintenance. Staying informed enables you to make informed decisions and implement strategies to optimise the lifespan of your solar panels.
When is the Best Time to Replace Solar Panels?
We would recommend replacing your solar panels every 25-30 years. Although, the best time to replace your solar panels depends on the efficiency, performance degradation and technological advancements. If your solar panels are nearing the end of their lifespan or if you observe a significant drop in their performance, it’s worth considering a replacement.
Do Solar Panels Degrade?
While solar panels are designed to be durable and have a long lifespan, their efficiency gradually decreases as they age. This decline in performance is often due to exposure to sunlight, environmental conditions and the natural wear and tear of the materials. As solar energy technology advances, newer panels are often more efficient and can generate more electricity compared to older models.
What Happens After 25 Years of Solar Panel System Use?
After 25 years, solar panels may still continue to generate electricity, but their efficiency is likely to have declined significantly. At this point, considering a replacement or upgrading to newer, more efficient panels would be beneficial to maintain optimal energy generation.
How Long Do Other Parts Of A Solar Panel System Last?
It’s easy to concentrate one how long solar panels last because they are the most important part of the system. But don’t forget about other key elements, too.
Solar inverters which are responsible for converting Direct Current (which solar panels produce) into Alternating Current (which our homes in the UK use to power our lives) are a great example of key elements of a solar system you ought to consider when thinking about life expectancy of your system. Inverters also have a natural life expectancy which can be improved and extended with proper maintenance.
Inverters are another great example of quality solar technology and they can last for up to 10 years comfortably, so long as they’re properly maintained. That means you’ll have to replace your inverter far more than your home solar panels throughout your system’s life.
Another example is solar battery storage. Solar batteries are great for storing solar power when your solar panel’s power output is higher than your usage. That way, you can store the electricity produced by your solar panels for later use.
Again, solar batteries won’t last as long as solar panels do. Most solar batteries will last around 10 years again, but some of the best on the market can still operate with great efficiency for 15 years or more.
The key to keeping your solar panels, inverters, and batteries in tip top shape for as long as possible? Proper care and attention.
How Long Does it Take for Solar to Pay for Itself UK?
On average, solar panels in the UK can pay for themselves within 10 to 15 years through energy savings and potential earnings from excess electricity sold back to the grid. Yet this usually depends on various factors such as the initial cost, installation, energy usage, and potential government incentives or feed-in tariffs.
The point is, no matter how long it takes for your solar panels to pay for themselves, they’ll almost certainly have done so before the end of their useful life. That means not only are they a smart investment, but they’ll also help save you money in the future.
As soon as they’ve paid for themselves, many solar panels will still go on saving you even more money. They might not be working at maximum efficiency at that time due to the yearly degradation rate, but they’ll still be performing highly enough to make a solar panel investment an obvious choice for many household.
Do Solar Panels Increase Home Value in the UK?
Solar panels can increase home value in the UK by 4% to 14% on average. Properties equipped with solar panels tend to have a higher market value and sell faster compared to homes without solar installations.
Yet the exact value increase varies depending on factors such as the size of the system, energy savings, and the overall demand for renewable energy in the local market. Go Solar Today!
How Long Do Solar Panels Last: Round-up
We already started the post by saying the answer to the question ‘how long do solar panels last‘ is ‘it depends’. But hopefully today’s post has elaborated enough on that for you to understand that solar panels typically last for up to 25 years as standard, but if you hope to get there (and even beyond) the onus is on you as solar panel owners to stretch your solar panel’s performance.
But don’t worry, the pressure isn’t all on you. You’ll need top quality installers for your new solar panels if your want your solar panels to last as long as possible.
At Effective Home, we specialise in providing solar panel solutions in the UK. We offer a comprehensive solar panel installation, enabling customers to generate renewable electricity and reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills.
We provide efficient and cost-effective solar solutions with finance options available enabling homeowners to embrace sustainable energy practices and enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable power for their homes.
Get in touch today to book a free home survey.