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When investing in something as big as solar panels, you are probably going to want to be sure that they last a long time. Overall, a quality set of panels will last around 25 – 30 years, but they might continue working after that.

This is what you need to know about the lifespan of your solar panels. 

how long do solar panels last

How Long Do They Last In Normal Conditions?

Under normal conditions is when you can expect your solar panels to last you decades. After 25 years they will not stop producing power, but their production rate will start to go down. As long as the panel is not damaged by an outside element, such as water or wind, then you can expect it to have a long life.

The best thing you can do to increase the life of your solar panels is to have them serviced regularly by your installers. Maintaining the panels will lead to better production rates that do not start dropping off over the years, so you want to take advantage of the services your manufacturer offers. 

If you live in an area with a calmer climate, you will likely have more luck with your solar panel. When it is not in danger from debris, it will hold up extremely well. Keep in mind that solar panels are designed to be durable.

How Long Do They Last In Taxing Conditions?

However, how does the solar panel do under less than prime conditions? Quality panels can withstand bad conditions, but they might not produce as much energy. For example, they often drop their production rates to between 10 and 25% on days with high cloud coverage.

If you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfall, you can still expect to get decent production rates. This is because the panels still work when wet and the rain even clears them of any debris so that they can produce more power – as long as the cloud coverage is not too high.

High winds are also not going to affect your solar panels. This is because all manufactures must have their products pass a test against 140 mile per hour wind – something that you would only find in a Category 4 hurricane. As long as the wind in your area is not that high all of the time, your panels and roof will be alright.

However, lightning can pose a threat to any electronic device – this includes solar panels. Your installer will make sure that the solar system is set up with lightning protection. This usually includes grounding the panels, but might require extra precautions depending on your environment.

On The Roof VS Off The Roof

On the Roof

Solar panels that are on your roof take up less space and are less expensive to install. However, they might be more or less efficient, depending on your roofing and the way they need to face. 

Solar panels that are installed on the roof usually are harder to troubleshoot if something goes wrong, since your installers will need to get on the roof to access them. Do not let that discourage you, though.

Roof mounted panels require fewer materials, use otherwise unused space, and are much more cost-effective overall. Their life span is still expected to be between 25 to 30 years and they provide you with clean energy for that entire time. 

Off the Roof

Setting your solar panels up on the ground can be another option for some. They tend to have a slightly longer lifespan, as they are easier to access and maintain. Since the ground is cooler they can sustain a higher energy output for longer periods as well.

However, where you live is what is going to impact what type of panels you get the most. If you live in the city and have limited space available to you, then you can probably only have the panels installed on your roof. If you have the space, then ground mounted panels might be an option, although they do have a higher up front cost.

Can You Make Solar Panels Last Longer?

Manufacturers have to test and certify their solar panel products against extreme conditions, so that they are knowingly selling you a product that will last outdoors for many years. Since they are not made up of moving parts, they require very little maintenance to have a long life.

If you want to make them last as long as possible, be sure to take advantage of any services that the installer offers to you. They know exactly what to do to ensure that your panels have high production rates for years.

If something were to happen to your solar panels, your installer also will have warranties in place to repair or replace them for you. Production warranties can last up to 25 years and guarantee your system is meeting certain production rates.

If they are below the minimum production rate, then the installer will have to make it so the rate is met by fixing up your panels – this ensures that you can get 25 years of life and energy out of them.

Keep Away Debris

Finally, you are going to want to ensure that your solar panels are free of debris as often as possible. Debris such as leaves, dust, and pollen can disturb production rates or slowly damage your solar panels over time. 

Some manufacturers even offer something called a critter guard, which will stop animals from living underneath the panels. Otherwise, small animals can harm the wiring and cells in your system.

If you take the time to protect your solar panels from physical damages, then they will last you many decades. Be sure to ask your manufacturer if there are additional steps you need to take.

Conclusion

So, how long do solar panels last? They can last you around 30 years – which is no short amount of time. As long as you ensure that they are free of debris, they can weather the natural elements. That includes taxing conditions as well.

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