Top 10 Questions About Solar Panels
Before you make the decision to go solar power for your home,
there are a number of things to know.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
On average, California homeowners who go solar can save around $34,483 over their lifetime after capital repayment. If you’ve thought about going solar in San Diego, factors like price, incentives, energy production, amount of panels, and other essential questions have probably crossed your mind. If you have begun your research, the average lifespan of solar panels is also likely a concern.
Average Warranties Offered
Some homeowners look at conventional warranties on solar panels, which can range from 10-25 years, and look at that as an indication of a solar panel’s lifespan. This isn’t necessarily the case though. In reality, these warranties may just indicate the time at which solar panels begin to produce less efficiently, though some panels don’t suffer too much degradation, particularly if they are produced with durability in mind.
What Is the Degradation Rate?
According to a study done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, on average, a solar panel will suffer a .5% loss of efficiency every year. That means even after the typical 25-year warranty expires, the solar panel system should still be performing at around 80-90% of original efficiency levels. Compared with rising energy costs exceeding .5% increased year-over-year, the degradation rate won’t affect homeowners’ abilities to save.
Breaking Down Panel Type Lifespans
Still, different types and brands of solar panels will hold efficiency levels at different rates. Solar manufacturing company, SunPower (offered by Semper Solaris) offers the most durable, high-efficiency panels available on the market. Thanks to copper-backed panels, their warranty backs an 8% power decline over the average 25-year period compared to the conventional solar panel that sees around 19% power decline.
Here is a comparison of solar panel types:
- Thin film silicon solar panels – least efficient and more affordable (only warranted to produce around 80% after just 10 years)
- Polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels – very common brand and operate well after 30+ years
Remember, even though warranties only back up to 25 years of life for solar panels, this doesn’t mean they will stop performing. On the contrary, most solar panels will still be performing extremely well after several decades, meaning that the investment you make in solar panels today should be still providing savings 30, 40, even 50+ years down the road.