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How long do solar panels last?

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31/08/2023

The industry standard for most solar panels' lifespans is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers and companies who carry out the installation of solar panels offer production warranties for 25 years or more. The average break-even point for solar panel energy savings occurs six to 10 years after installation. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, are made to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s are still working at expected capacity. Solar panels are remarkably reliable, and solar panel longevity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. In addition to decades of practical performance, many solar manufacturers back their products with performance guarantees in their warranties.

Solar panels lifespan

As with most technologies, solar panels will naturally produce less energy over time. This reduced power output is called the degradation rate. The median solar panel degradation rate is about 0.5%, meaning that a solar panel’s energy production will decrease at a rate of 0.5% per year.3 After 20 years, your panels should still be working at about 90% of their original output.

Solar panels durability

Several factors can impact not just the solar modules' durability and longevity but the efficiency of your whole solar system. Below we will briefly talk about some of the factors so that you can imagine.

Solar panels maintenance

The main key to extending the lifespan of solar panels and the overall system lies in the hands of a reputable, experienced installer and also depends on the quality of maintenance of your solar panels.

Solar panels degradation

Generally, solar panels have a warranty of 25-30 years, but rooftop solar systems can last longer, depending on the quality of the components, the design, and maintenance. On average, a quality solar panel degradation rate is 0.5-3% annually during its entire lifespan.

Solar panels warranty

A 25-year product warranty is standard for solar panels, and most fall within a range of 15 years to 40 years. Although the average panel lifespan is estimated at around 30 years, most clean energy systems pay for themselves in energy savings in just 12 years.

Conclusion 

Keep in mind that expected solar panel life expectancy doesn’t mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades. It just means their energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average American family’s energy needs.