Solar Panels have quickly become the UK’s most popular alternative energy source to generate clean electricity. As an affordable, green energy resource, guaranteed to save you money on your electricity bills, it’s no surprise as to why. However, as a relatively new phenomenon, that’s rather techie, there is no surprise why homeowners still have a lot of questions surrounding solar panels.
“How Long do solar panels last?” Is as popular a question as any. After all, the longer your Solar panels are generating solar energy for, the greater the return on your investment will be. Read on to find out what the typical lifespan of a solar panel is in the UK, and ways to make sure your panels last!
How long do Solar Panels last In the UK?
Studies show that solar panels typically last between 25-30 years. Which considering the average life expectancy of a boiler is between 10-15 years, isn’t bad at all!
Solar Panels usually have the longest warranty out of any component within a Solar PV System. Typically, solar panel manufacturers offer warranties with panel degradation in mind. On average, your solar panels will have a 25 year limited power warranty. This warranty guarantees the performance level of the solar panels over their lifespan. Usually, the warranty will guarantee a 90% power output for the first 10 years and a 80% power output for the entire 25 years. In fact, some panels can even remain over 80% efficient past the end of their lives.
Whats happens to solar panels after 25 years
Solar Panels don’t simply stop working after 25-30 years. They will continue to produce electricity, however at a lower rate due to panel degradation. Some brands of solar panels will continue to function long after 25 years. With some modules reaching an expected lifespan of 40-50 years, for which the warranties will keep them protected for at least half of that time.
So when we say a solar panel’s lifespan is around 25-30 years, we really mean that a solar panel will perform at its best for 25-30 years. After the 25 years, the output of the solar panel is simply no longer guaranteed, due to a drop in panel efficiency.
Do Solar Panels Degrade over Time?
“Rate of Degradation” is an important term to understand when it comes to Solar Panels. The ‘rate of degradation’ is used to describe the speed in which a Solar panels loose efficiency and power output over time. At Deege Solar, we take rate of degradation into consideration, when calculating your yearly energy output and return on investment. Providing you with the most reliable transparent figures for your solar panel system generation.
But, why does solar panel degradation occur? What affects the rate at which solar panels degrade? And are there ways to avoid panel degradation? Read on to find out!
Why do Solar Panels Degrade?
One of the main reasons a Solar panel degrades, is because of long-term exposure to UV rays and adverse weather conditions. High temperatures and warmer climates are likely to increase degradation rates. Similar to how your phone loses battery quicker in the heat. However, it is the extreme cold weather and areas subject to heavy snow and wind which affects solar panels the most. Lucky enough the UK isn’t usually exposed to extreme weather events such as heatwaves, snowstorms and hurricanes so much so that it would affect your solar panel’s performance. Solar panels in moderate climates, such as the UK, should retain 96% of their generation capabilities even after 20 years.
When installing a Solar Panel system, temperature and ventilation is extremely important. As the cool flow of air is able to reduce the temperature of the panel increasing its efficiency. That is why on-roof solar panels have a better efficiency in comparison to integrated solar panels. Simply because they are better ventilated.
What factors affect how long solar panels last?
There are several factors that can determine the speed at which a solar panel degrades over time. Overall, the lifespan of a solar panel is dependant on the manufacturer of the panel, the solar panel installer you choose, and the owner (yourself).
It is no surprise that the quality of a solar panel can impact the rate of degradation and how long a solar panel lasts. While some solar panels may have a cheaper upfront cost, you will pay the price in the long run. Cheaper solar panels tend to use low quality solar glass, and a reduced amount of aluminium in order to keep the price down. The thinner frames and lower quality protection, make the panel more vulnerable to damage.
Although panel degradation is unavoidable, solar panel efficiency is higher than ever. Thankfully, here at Deege Solar we only install high quality Tier 1 Solar Panels, meaning that the rate of degradation is at a minimal. High-quality solar panels degrade at an average rate of around 0.4-0.5% every year. This means even over long periods, the solar panels loose very little of their total capacity. Only generating 12-15% less power at the end of their 25-30 year lifespan.
As leading UK solar installers, at Deege Solar we only install premium products. Designed to maximise your solar panel system’s efficiency and output. It is important to do your research on the products you will be having installed. For example, we commonly install Hyundai Solar Panels which have a Premium 20.4% Module Efficiency, and Growatt who supply the number 1 worldwide solar inverter
If we wouldn’t have it on our own home, we simply won’t install it on yours. Take a look at our list of the Best Solar Panels the UK have to offer.
In order to make sure your solar panels are operating as effectively as possible it is important that they are fitted correctly. The size of the inverter installed, the angle of the solar panels, and cable run can all impact your PV system’s efficiency. This is why you should always use an MCS accredited solar panel installer such as ourselves. Making sure your solar panel installer is both fully qualified and experienced. When you choose an MCS solar installer, you will always be covered by the warranty.
Maintenance is another key factor in how to make your solar panels last. While solar panels require minimal maintenance, and are designed to endure unpredictable harsh weather, a little TLC goes a long way.
- Firstly, it is important to regularly check the panel output of your Solar panel system. Either through your inverter or monitoring. By including an app-based monitoring system as part of your solution, you can always ensure your PV system is performing how it should. You should also monitor your connections, and cabling. Identifying and resolving any issues with your solar PV system as quickly as possible, ensuring the long lifespan of the solar panels.
- Secondly, it is important to make sure your panels are clean and bird free. Birds can damage your wired connections, and dirty solar panels can hinder your panel efficiency. For tips and tricks on solar panel cleaning read our solar panel cleaning guide.
- Lastly, you should also check your solar panels for any signs of new shading. As shading can greatly reduce the overall efficiency of your panels.
Generally speaking, if you keep the panels clean and in good condition, they should be working at high levels of efficiency for quite some time. By keeping your solar panels well maintained you can expect them to reach their full expected lifespan and more!
Three Tips to Make Your Solar Panels Last Longer
So, if you are looking to make your solar panels last longer, just follow our three simple tips.
- Choose to install a Quality Solar PV System.
- Make sure you choose an MCS accredited member for your solar panel installation.
- Make sure your solar panels are regularly monitored and maintained. Free from birds and debris.
If you are asking yourself “how long do solar panels last”, you probably have a dozen other questions regarding solar panels. If you are a UK homeowner considering a solar panel installation and would like some expert advice regarding which solar panel to choose, and more, get in touch with the team here at Deege Solar. As award-winning solar panel installers, with over 12 year of experience, when you choose Deege Solar you know you are in safe hands. Call us today on 01322 479369 or click the enquire now button to talk to an expert!