When Should I Replace My Solar Panels?
Spending on solar panels for your home is both a financial and ecological investment. These panels help you and your family save on monthly electric bills in an ecologically friendly and sustainable way. For a long time. Solar panels in general have no moving parts and are durable with only a little to no maintenance required.
Lifespan of Your Solar Panels
According to the United States Department of Energy, having solar panels means that homeowners can use free electricity for many years. The department mentions that the average solar electric systems last about 30 years and will pay for itself in 4 to 5 years with all the available tax credits, rebates and electric bill savings.
In the market today the average home solar panel system lasts about 25-30 years and there are some that are built to last for up to 50 years.
How long your solar panels last depend greatly on the weather conditions they are exposed to and your own preferences and choices. You need to know what to look out for to understand when to replace some of the parts of your solar system.
As solar panels age even the most efficient solar panels will gradually become less efficient. The benefit is that your solar system will not just stop working after a few years, instead the production of electricity will decrease over time indicating that the system is aging.
Solar Panel Aging
As with most things, even solar panels do not last forever. The degradation of solar panels is a gradual process and as the panels age they become less efficient in converting sunlight into energy. The quality of the solar panel normally determines its rate of degradation with the average solar panel typically degrading at about 0.3% – 0.8% a year.
To prolong the lifespan of your system it is vital to use a knowledgeable and reputable solar company to execute on your solar panel installation project.
If the output of your solar system significantly decreases it is time to start thinking about replacing it to restore the electricity supply to its former levels. Most people replace their systems when it drops to 80% efficiency but this level is up to you and could be 20 to 25 years away.
Other Components of your Solar System
There are other parts to your system than just solar panels and these parts will also need to be replaced when due. Some might need replacement before your solar panels even such as your inverter. Depending on the size, model and type of inverter it can last between 10 to 15 years. Some inverters last up to 25 years and can even come with a 25-year warranty.
A minor but important aspect is the racking of your panels that might need replacing depending on the conditions they endure. The racking is important to keep your panels and system in place and working optimally.
If your system is set up with solar batteries in tandem with your solar system you will over time have to replace the batteries when they no longer hold a charge, similar to a car battery. The old batteries should simply slide out to make it easy to replace them with new ones. There is no need to replace the system that controls the batteries.
Last but not least, the last component of your solar system that could need to be replaced is your roof. The average roof has a lifespan of 25 to 35 years depending on the material you used.
Covering your roof with solar panels will provide an extra layer of protection for your roof and may extend its life. It is very important to inspect your roof before you install your solar panels so that all issues are repaired. This will ensure that no issues hidden by the panels are left to worsen and also match the lifespan of your roof with that of your panels. This way you will not have to replace your roof before your panels. You will avoid having to take the panels off only to reinstall them on the new roof.
Check out this blog post to learn more about when to replace your roof.
Ideas to Extend Solar Panel Life
The easiest and best way to prolong the lifespan of your solar system starts in the solar panel installation phase. It is very important that the installation has to be done correctly and using a qualified solar company known for their quality work is essential.
Once installed you can treat your panels the same as any other system of importance in your home. Using the monitoring system, you can keep an eye on production and give it a monthly visual inspection. A visual inspection can be done from the ground and you can look for things such as loose racking or exposed wires. Catching issues early is best and you should not have to get on to your roof at any stage.
Selecting the appropriate solar panel installation company guarantees good craftsmanship and customer service. They also use good quality products and materials and provide warranties that help to protect you against financial losses.
It is very important to do your research to ensure that you find the installer who offers the appropriate advice on the products to meet your needs. Your research should include a review of the company websites, reading testimonials and contacting a few companies to ask the same questions to. Combined this should help you determine their level of professionalism.
A well installed solar system will only need replacing well into the future and would have paid for itself a hundred times over. If your system is becoming a bit aged and losing efficiency, please give us a call with any and all your questions. We are happy to help.