Analyzing Solar Panels – Life Expectancy And Cost Analysis

If you didn’t know, you’ll be surprised to hear that you actually spend an average of $1,217.63 less per year on electricity. That’s including the cost of solar panels. Now compare it with normal electricity.

As it is a core component of all solar systems, solar panel companies put a lot of emphasis and effort in order to make their solar panel more robust and long-lasting. Solar panels should be able to withstand heat for the sun, heavy rain and cold. Anyhow, solar panels are not perfect. They will age and become useless after a certain period.

This post shares information about different solar panels used by Solar Company, and how aging affects their performance.

Warranties and Life-Expectancy of Solar Panels

The majority of solar panel contractors offer the 25-year standard solar panel warranty, which means that power output should not be less than 80% of rated power after 25 years.

The question you could come up with can be, “What will happen to my solar panels after 25 years?” The truth is we don`t really know – there`s not really a lot of data to look at since photovoltaics is a relatively new technology (the vast majority of all solar panels are less than 10 years old).

The technology has improved, the solar panels on today`s market are more robust and durable. This is where it gets really interesting. What does all of this actually mean? The lifespan of a modern solar panel is far longer than the 20 years that we use to calculate costs and earnings. This basically translates into more money in your pocket.

Most experts are optimistic about the current status of the solar panels. Some of them can even bet that a solar panel installed today would be up and running (and still generating a good amount of electricity) 30 – 40 years down the line.

How Quickly Solar Panels Degrade

On average, solar panels degrade by 0.5% a year. In order to understand how fast they degrade, it is important to know the type of solar panels. There are three main types based on the material:

  • Thin-film solar panels – CdTe, a-Si and CIGS
  • Monocrystalline solar panels, and
  • Polycrystalline solar panels

Thin-film solar panels degrade faster than the rest of the two types.

Here is the percentage of degradation per year of each:

  • Amorphous silicon degrades by 0.87% per year
  • Solar panel of Cadium telluride (CdTe) degrades about 0.4% per year
  • Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) panel degrades 0.96% per year
  • Polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) solar panel degrades about 0.64% per year
  • Monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si) has a degradation rate of 0.36% per year

Here, one thing is worth mentioning that solar panels degrade faster in the first two years, compared to the rest of their life.

How to Improve the Life of Solar Panel

  • Avoid physical damage. The more surface scratches, the more performance degradation. In the worst-case, water can seep through the surface, which can short-circuit the solar panels.
  • Regular maintenance and cleaning is important.
  • The more weather and wind the solar panels are exposed to, the faster they will degrade.