How Often Do Solar Panels Need Replacing?: Complete Guide

Solar panels are environment-friendly power plants, and they are the power of the future. We use them for our homes to produce energy. However, we have to change them from time to time. How often do solar panels need replacing? Here is the answer.

You may wonder about their life expectancy. Under normal circumstances, if they are not forcefully damaged, their life expectancy is approximately 40 years.

However, the idea is the efficiency of solar panels. The ideal replacing time is when their efficiency drops under 80%. Almost all the solar panel manufacturers guarantee for about 25 years efficiency above this rate. The only noticeable study in that matter is from the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in 2012.

The study titled “Photovoltaic Degradation Rates – An Analytical Review” found that solar panels’ efficiency is dropping approximately .5% per year. With this calculation, the solar panels should stay at the efficiency rate for about 40 years in standard circumstances.

If you wonder how you can improve efficiency, learn about specific panels’ warranties, etc. You will see your question’s answers in this article.

The Exact Life Of A Solar Panel

How Often Do Solar Panels Need Replacing?
How Often Do Solar Panels Need Replacing?

If we can say that the exact life means no producing power anymore, the exact life of a solar panel is about 200 years(.5% per year). 

When it comes to efficiency, nobody wants to have a solar panel who isn’t efficient since the solar system’s meaning is to save money. So, finding a max efficient way is the goal.

In 1973, a war started between Israel and Arabs. The USA has tried to gain leverage from after the war by giving Israel supplies. Offended by this, Arab members of the  Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo. Opec had a massive percentage in this field, and it caused a huge energy crisis.

By 1978, the energy crisis grew dramatically. In 1978, the situation was enormously huge, so that the government took a step and passed the first commercial and residential tax credit (ITC). This credit gave to the landlords approximately 30% rebate on the first $2,000 and 20% on the next  $8,000. The number that they provided was roughly $2,500. In addition to that, Federal buildings had to have solar water panels. In 1986, thanks to this “solar revolution,” the crisis decreased, and oil prices dropped to a reasonable level.

Given this information, you can see these solar panels still working who had installed 40 years ago. That being said, you can see that solar panels are durable and reliable.

Durability Of Solar Panels

Since it’s about 2 millimeters thick, the solar panel is fragile. On the other hand, the glass surrounding that solar panel is very durable since the glass is supported by metal.

Since the tempered glass is much better at durability, any respected solar company will use this glass type. There is another option: flat glass, which is cheaper but less durable. When it comes to buying solar panels, please check the glass type and make sure that it is tempered.

The general solar system is designed for almost any weather conditions. The system is durable in 90 MPH wind. In these circumstances, the roof would have to tear off.

Feedback from customers reported that the roof covered in solar panels could go through hail storms without any problem. However, the non-solar parts should be replaced correctly.

Cleaning Solar Panels

You should clean the solar panels in the standard environment at least once a year; however, if you live in a dirty environment, such as an airport, freeway, industry, etc.

To protect them, you may consider cleaning them more often. Be aware of leaves if you have a tree close to solar panels since these can damage solar panels.

 If you have clean panels, the efficiency can go up to 3-5%. If you want to clean them on your own, here are some advice that you can take:

  • First of all, read the manufacturers directions. If there are none, find them via the internet or contact the manufacturer. You need to know if you have to be careful about special instructions.
  • Remember that they produce energy from the sun. This implies that you need to be careful about their hotness. Try cleaning later at night or earlier in the morning.
  • Cleaning instruction is very basic. Get a warm soapy water or cleaning solution for solar panels. Use a soft piece of cloth and wipe them with a solution and then rinse them.

Using A Pressure Washer?

Since the steam can damage the panels, we do not recommend anyone to use it for cleaning the solar panels.

If you are willing to use it, you should set the lowest setting and use it from a distance. This won’t break the panels, but it may damage, and solar panels can reduce glass durability.

Causes of Drop of Effective Production

The NREL has made a study. According to that, crystalline silicon modules located in extreme climates have a high rate of degradation.

Contrarily, the panels installed in a facade will have a lower rate of degradation.

Another extreme situation is due to high levels of UV exposure. Panels in desert climates have a massive loss in production (nearly 1% per year).

Panels in more standard environments like the Northern United States have low production (approximately 0.2%). This means they can live efficiently for more years.

Expiration On Solar Panels

They don’t have a specific expiration date. However, there is a warranty for solar panels in that field. Most of the warranty ranges from 10 to 25 years.

Panel Brands and Warranties

There is a list below that has some of the respected companies and their warranties.

MANUFACTURERMAXIMUM PRODUCT WARRANTY
Amerisolar12 years
Axitec12 years
Canadian Solar10 years
Centrosolar10 years
China Sunergy10 years
LG25 years
Panasonic25 years
Hyundai10 years
Green Brilliance5 years
JinkoSolar10 years
Kyocera10 years
Trina Solar10 years

In terms of warranties and services, some researches showed us that LG is the best option. 

The reasons listed below:

  • As can be seen from the table, LG has a 25-year warranty. It involves repairing or replacing solar panels.
  • 95% guarantee for 5 years
  • at least 87% guarantee from 6 to 25 years
  • Repair guarantee for the lack of production
  • Since detective materials are the property of LG, you should return these materials.
  • Since your installer must install properly, LG does not pay for the labor associated problems.
  • If there is not a problem in the panel, the customer is responsible for shipping costs.
  • There are some limitations of the warranty.
  • You need the deficiency within 30 days.

For further reading, please check this link:  LG solar Panel

If you are not satisfied with the LG, there are some tips for choosing the right panel:

  1. Look for at least a 20-year warranty.
  2. Contact with the customer service. The service is important since the solution timing is essential. Remember that each day, you are losing money.
  3. You can contact your installer. Some installers have excellent customer service. If they are good at their job, they can choose the best product for you.
  4. You need to check what guarantees your client provides. There may be a lot of differences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, solar panels can last for 40 years. Of course, they will degrade over time, but they will provide a lot of savings.

However, you need to check the warranties. If you find the best solar panel system for you, you will get a lot of profit over time. 

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