You could install a photovoltaic (PV) system or solar panels yourself. However, to avoid complications or injury, you will most likely want to hire a reputable solar contractor with experience installing solar panel systems. While they are sophisticated electric systems, PV systems have few moving parts, so they require little maintenance.
Many people ask, “how long do solar panels last?” when thinking about installing a solar system. It’s a very good question to ask. People are pleasantly surprised to hear that solar panels have a long lifespan and minimal maintenance costs.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
Solar technology is relatively new and we’re still learning about the limits of a solar panel’s lifespan. That’s because some of the earliest panels still haven’t maxed out.
We know about several customers that installed solar systems about 20 years ago and they are still producing!
And those are some of the earliest solar panels that were produced!
Technology and design has vastly improved in the last decade, so the outlook is great for modern panels. Today, most solar panel manufacturers offer a 25-year production warranty (with degradation per decade) on their panels.
This is one more measure of confidence in the solar panel’s lifespan. It’s expected that panels will still continue to operate for years to come after that warranty expires.
How Durable Are Solar Panels?
The solar cells inside a solar panel, the parts that are responsible for creating electricity from sunlight, are very fragile. That’s why there are multiple protective layers over the solar cells, including the top layer of high-impact glass. These protective layers are all put to the test to meet international standards. Many companies test their panels to go above and beyond for added durability.
During testing, solar panels are exposed to extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), high-humidity conditions, strong wind forces and heavy loads that simulate snow or ice pack. They are also blasted with simulated hail. The international standards require that panels are able to withstand 25mm (1 inch) diameter hailstones traveling at 23 meters per second (51 miles per hour).
Solar Panel Maintenance Cost and Needs
Once installed, solar panels are very low maintenance. This is because there are no moving parts in the solar system. The only maintenance cost that is certain is the inverter, which is typically replaced after the system has been operating for 15 years.
In the end, maintenance is very minimal for most residential solar panel systems. Customers that would like to check that the solar panel system is still generating energy properly can call and ask for commissioning of the system for a small fee. However, all of our customers have a monitoring device that shows us exactly how many KWh the solar panel system produced. It also provides us with all the related information about the system.
Solar Panel Lifespan
Even though they are out in the open and exposed to the elements, panels are designed to be very durable and resilient. Every year, there is a higher percentage of residential and commercial solar panel systems installed. Each of these new systems will be a real-life experiment that will test the lifespan of new solar panels. These real-world experiments will tell us more about how long solar panels last, but there is plenty of evidence already to show that solar panels can last 30 years and beyond.
Harvest the Sun for Your Energy Needs and Save!
The average California family will save nearly $30,000 over 20 years by using solar energy.