With an increase in popularity of solar power systems for home use, solar panel installation has been growing steadily in the last few years. A big concern for homeowners is the question of, how long do these solar panels actually last? An important factor when considering the installation of a solar power system is cost. When investing thousands of dollars for solar power installation, even with possible government incentives, you want to know the panels are resilient and will last a long time. Let’s take a look at how long solar panels will last on your roof so you will be prepared and will know how to maintain them for as long as possible.
Your Roof Matters
Before you have solar panels installed and move forward with a new solar power system, it’s very important to have your roof inspected. According to Shelton Roofing, people often make the mistake of scheduling solar panel installation and find out later that their roof needs repaired or replaced.
At Solar Solution AZ, we perform a thorough roof inspection before we install or engineer any solar panels to go on your roof. If any damage is found, we can help you work with a reputable roofing contractor for repairs. This precautionary measure lets us warranty the portions of your roof that your solar impacts for a full 25 years.
Taking care of roof damage or replacing your old roof prior to the installation can greatly affect the number of years your panels will last on the roof. With the way you can save money with solar power, a thorough roof inspection fee and even making a few repairs if needed is worth the cost to prevent heavier charges in the future if the roof collapses or you must replace panels damaged by a bad roof.
The Past Life Expectancy of Solar Panels
Several years ago, it was determined that solar panels could last for up to 25 years. Most warranties offered only went up as far as 20 years and sometimes 25 years depending on the company doing the sales and installation. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initially suggested that on average, solar panels would see a 1% decrease in power production as each year passed.
What We Know Today
That figure has changed over the years and today it has been determined that on average, with proper installation and care, most solar panels are only seeing an annual decrease of .5% or less. With this new figure, solar panels are now expected to last an average of 30 to 40 years. With new designs today, solar panels are better equipped now than ever before to resist cracking that damages cells which often happens during soldering when the panels are built. Cells that have cracks will react as a panel that is shaded and can cause a loss of energy.
It is important to make sure you have regular maintenance and make repairs as soon as they are needed. Most warranties today still go to 20-25 years although the panels have a life expectancy to last up to 40 years when well-maintained. A warranty will guarantee that the level of power won’t drop below 80% for the time span of the warranty whether the system is large or small.
At Solar Solution AZ, all our solar panel systems carry a full warranty for 25 years. This covers all necessary maintenance and repairs, including labor fees, for the life of the solar panel system.
Increase the Time
As a homeowner, there are steps you can take to help increase the time your solar panels will last. These include:
Keep the solar panels clean and free from debris. If you have large trees near the house, keep them cut away so branches cannot fall onto the panels.
Items in the Yard
This brings us to things that can damage the panels. Scratching can really cause issues with solar panels, and the worse the scratches are, the more problems you may have with them. Again, keep trees cut back and make sure nothing is in your yard that can be blown onto the roof during storms or heavy winds. Sometimes it is not possible to prevent things like this from happening but taking steps to prevent it does help.
Solar panels are primarily maintenance-free, however, there are some things you can do to increase your power production. Clean your panels by spraying them off with a garden hose, when dirty, in the early evenings, or in the morning before the sun fully comes out. Do not clean your panels when they are very hot to avoid any risk of cracking. Keep leaves and other debris swept away, and make sure to keep all tree branches trimmed back from your solar panel system. Never touch the wiring when you are cleaning your panels!
When properly installed and maintained, a solar panel system can easily provide clean power for the next 25 years. Be sure to choose a solar installation company that performs a thorough roof inspection before installation of the solar panels, and offers a comprehensive warranty. Warranty length is typically a good indication of solar panel installation quality. That is why we strive to offer the longest, most comprehensive warranties in the industry.