How long do solar panels last? Useful life

Within renewable energies, solar is one of the most used today. While the installation of solar panels is becoming more and more frequent at the domestic level, the prices of the components necessary for it are decreasing, although it is important to note that not all of them will last us a lifetime. Solar panels wear out over time, but what is their lifespan?

The installation of solar panels and solar energy take advantage of the sun’s energy to convert it into electricity and thus achieve self-consumption that, in addition to saving on our electricity bill in the short and long term, allows us to achieve consumption that has less impact on the environment . A green, clean and renewable energy that is committed to the future and that is already the option chosen by countless companies and individuals. As we well know, betting on photovoltaic installations always provides long-term profitability and requires a significant initial investment. That is why, as with any other asset of great value, we ask ourselves what is the useful life of a solar panel.

How long do solar panels last

20 or 25 year warranty

Batteries, like solar panels, have a certain useful life and we will have to change them from time to time. Time is also passing for photovoltaic solar panels, which are wearing out and gradually suffering a drop in performance . It is obvious, but the quality of it will also determine its useful life. The vast majority have a warranty of 20 or 25 years, however, the average useful life can be up to 40 years .

To keep in mind is that, over time, solar panels will gradually lose their performance. Generally, this happens within the warranty period in which the manufacturer guarantees an efficiency of around 85% compared to the initial one. Once the 20 or 25 years of guarantee have passed, the performance of the panel will continue to decline. Another factor that influences the useful life of a solar panel is the material with which it is made. In relation to this aspect, it has been shown that the panels with the longest useful life and resistance are monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

The nominal power of the panels, both monocrystalline and polycrystalline, degrades around 0.5% per year, taking into account that those with a thinner film lose their qualities faster. In addition, we must also control the useful life of other components that complete the operation, such as batteries and inverters. Whether a solar panel is more or less efficient will also depend on the orientation in which it is placed.

How to extend the life of a solar panel

In order to fully amortize the investment made in the installation of solar panels, it is advisable to follow some maintenance tips that can be decisive when it comes to extending the useful life of solar panels and maintaining their performance in optimal conditions for longer. The main enemy of solar panels are environmental factors . The surface can be easily covered by dust, leaves and polluting particles, so rainy days, even if the sun is scarce, are good for the maintenance and durability of solar panels. A dirty solar panel only loses 10% of its performance, but if we don’t clean it, we will be losing our investment and shortening its useful life.

Therefore, it is important to periodically clean the panels. We can do it ourselves or, what is more advisable, go to a specialized company that performs cleaning and maintenance tasks with guarantees. After checking the status of the panels, they will be able to give us advice based on their review and status. If we decide to do the cleaning ourselves, the best times of the day to do it are in the morning or in the afternoon at sunset , times when their performance is lower compared to other times of the day. After cleaning them with a brush and removing any element that may have been deposited, it is advisable to clean them with soap and water.

An important aspect to keep in mind is that the water with which we clean the solar panels must be lukewarm in order to avoid damage caused by thermal contrast if we choose to use either very cold or very hot water. Power is also important, as too strong a jet of water can damage the surface of the solar panels.