If maintained and used properly, solar panels can last as long as 40 years – which is longer than the average person stays in their home. On average, solar panel manufacturers guarantee a panel’s efficiency (80 percent) for at least 25 years, but many last longer.
But, how often do you need to maintain or repair panels to get that kind of life out of them?
We explore the answers below.
What is the Average Lifespan of Solar Panels?
If you look at the entire life of a solar panel, you’re looking at 200 years – but that’s not the efficiency lifespan. Most homeowners and solar panel manufactures recommend use until a panel is less than 80 percent efficient, which usually means at least 25 years.
Do Solar Panels Require Regular Maintenance?
Unlike many other home improvements, solar panels require very little maintenance. You may need to clean them off if there is a lot of debris (tree branches or leaves) or a heavy snowfall, but other than that, they require little to no maintenance.
As long as the panels have full sun exposure, there’s not much else you need to do as they are self-sufficient.
Whether you have to physically clear off your panels or not depends on your roof’s pitch. Most are steep enough that the debris falls off itself and snow melts on its own. If you live in an area with little rain or your roof is pitched so that nothing falls off even in rain, you may need to use a hose or leaf blower to remove the debris.
Can a Solar Panel go Bad?
Anything can go bad, but solar panels take a long time to get to that point. Talk with your manufacturer to learn how long the panel should last with maximum efficiency. Once a panel has less than 80 percent efficiency, you should consider replacing it.
What Happens to Solar Panels after 20 Years? 25 years?
The average solar panel loses 10 percent of its efficiency in the first 20 years. By 25 years, most panels lose 20 percent of their efficiency, at which point you should consider replacing them.
Do Solar Panels come with a Warranty?
Most solar panels come with a few warranties – the equipment warranty and the performance warranty. The equipment warranty covers the actual equipment and usually lasts 10 – 12 years, promising peak performance throughout that time.
The performance warranty ensures 90 percent efficiency for the first 10 years and 80 percent efficiency up to year 25. Like any warranty, though, each company has different factors, so make sure you read the fine print.
Overall, solar panels should last a long time and require little to no maintenance. Talk with your installer about any specifics regarding your home, such as a tree too close to the house or the pitch of the roof that may require manual removal of debris or snow. Overall, though, once you install solar panels, there is little to no work that panels require.