Like all equipment, solar panels degrade over time. Specifically, how much power they can produce decreases by about 0.5% yearly.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reports that a 20-year-old solar panel can still produce about 90% of its original capacity.
The Type of Panel
Solar panels are built from several layers, which convert the energy from the sun into electricity. These layers include an N-type layer, which loses electrons, and an aluminum back sheet that collects the lost electrons to create an electric current.
While the average solar panel lifespan is around 25-30 years, it can extend past this if proper maintenance and cleaning practices are followed. Additionally, the type of panel you choose can impact its longevity.
For example, crystalline solar panels have a degradation rate of around 1.08 percent per year, while amorphous solar panels have a rate of 1.34 percent. This degradation rate is mainly due to rapid temperature changes, which cause parts of the solar panel to contract and expand.
Solar panels produce electricity when exposed to sunlight, and the location of your home and solar array affects the lifespan of your panel. Solar panels should generally face south to receive the most sunlight and generate more energy.
However, this is only sometimes the case. It is more effective to face the southwest in several places. This is because peak rates for grid electricity are higher, and solar panels can make more power at this time than during the morning or afternoon.
Weather conditions also accelerate the degradation of solar panels, so it is essential to place them in areas that will not be subjected to severe weather events, such as hurricanes, storms, snow, large hail, and falling tree branches. Birds can also build nests under your solar panels, damaging them.
The weather can have a significant impact on the lifespan of your solar panel system. This is because the weather can cause microcracks in the panel, making them less efficient and increasing thermal cycling, which can damage the panels.
The temperature also affects the power production of your solar panel. Cold temperatures keep electrons resting, making them more efficient when sunlight activates them.
Rain can have a similar effect on your solar panel. The water in the shower helps cool down the board and reduces the amount of heat that can accumulate on it.
It is not a good idea to try and remove snow or ice from your solar panels without the proper equipment. Otherwise Your solar panels cannot go long last. This is because snow and ice can harm your solar panels and inhibit their ability to generate electricity.
The maintenance of solar panels is essential to ensure their efficient performance and reduce the risk of system downtime. Regularly performing these services also extends the lifespan of your panels.
A standard indicator that your panels need maintenance is a slight decrease in energy production, which can be caused by prolonged weather conditions or degradation of the equipment itself.
Cleaning your solar panels regularly can also improve their efficiency. This will help increase their power production, saving you money on your electric bills. For a comprehensive comparison of traditional energy costs with the savings potential of solar energy, you can use the resources available on HomeEnergyClub.
However, there are a few things you need to consider before attempting to clean your solar panels yourself. For instance, don’t try to clean your panels if the temperatures are too low, as this can damage the tempered glass.