Going green would be one of the best decisions right now, especially since we are facing a global climate crisis. One way to do so is to consider solar energy using solar panels (in your business or your home) as a replacement for grid energy that contributes to carbon emissions.
While solar panels have been around for some time already, many people are still not aware of their benefits in different aspects of life. Just because it is unfamiliar, it doesn’t mean that we should neglect it. Solar panels deserve to be recognized as a great, much greener, safer alternative to coal or fossil fuels.
The question now would be the following: Are solar panels for the long term? Are they reliable enough to be a lifetime investment? These questions will be answered in this blog.
First, how long does a solar panel last?
As a rule of thumb, solar panels can last for around 25 to 30 years. It may sound like this lifespan indicated an immediate termination in terms of the functions of the solar panels. But, this lifespan only translates to the solar panels being degraded, thus, not performing their parts well. This can range from producing energy to requiring more work done to produce electricity, but this energy production would not immediately stop during this period.
Solar panels are excellent investments that you can benefit from even long-term. They are not easily fazed by rain, wind, snow, debris, and other external factors. In fact, they are so compact and high-quality that most solar panel companies give a 20-year warranty to the items. The durability of solar panels from inclement weather is applauded, making it a sound investment for the years to come.
Why do solar panels last this long?
In 2012, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted a study that concluded that solar panel output falls by an average of 0.8 percent annually. This decline rate is also referred to as the solar panel degradation rate.
The solar panel degradation rate can depend on several factors, and one of these would be the brand of solar panels and whether the materials used to make the panels are premium or standard. Solar panel manufacturers that use premium materials may lower the solar panel degradation to as low as 0.3 percent.
Through the years, this decline rate has also been improving. In fact, solar panel degradation rates of less than 1% are typical, even without the premium materials. Take note that this data was from 2012. As of this writing, we are ten years later ahead of the data, which can equate to much better technological advancements. Reports say that the average solar panel degradation rate has gone down to 0.5 percent per year!
Solar panels and their warranties
The fact that solar panel manufacturers offer lengthy warranties (20 to 25 years on average!) speaks so much about how long these gadgets can last. Manufacturers offer both performance and equipment warranty to give you peace of mind that your panels will provide you with enough energy and have functioning parts, respectively.
Carbon footprint covered
Using renewable energy as a source of electricity definitely raises green flags, metaphorically and slightly laterally. However, you may be worried about the carbon footprints that are left when creating solar panels.
To calm your thoughts, we are glad to say that the long lifespan of solar panels is longer than its EPBT or “energy payback time.” EPBT refers to the time it takes for a solar panel to generate enough clean electricity to “reimburse” or “payback” the not-so-green energy used while manufacturing it. In 2010, the Brookhaven National Laboratory analyzed solar panels and their EPBT and found that it only takes six months to “pay back,” which is significantly shorter than 25 to 35 years of solar panel lifespan. During this year, this number may have already gone down as the manufacturing of solar panels has become more efficient.
Making solar panels last longer
Solar panels are known to be heavily durable. Manufacturers conduct quality control tests to ensure that their panels can withstand heavy snow loads, such as hail and even high winds.
On top of that, solar panels are also stationary when installed. Thus, it lessens the risks of being damaged due to locomotor factors. This feature makes solar panels require little to no maintenance.
Since solar panels are this “independent,” if you would call them, the best way to make them last longer and function just the same is to consult with a trusted solar power company with superb customer service. Also, make sure to purchase solar panels with extended equipment warranties (from 10 to 12 years) so that you will be covered in case of environmental damages and defects. Also, look for panels with production warranties of up to 25 years so that you can guarantee that you are receiving enough energy from the panels to light up your home.
Still, maintaining your solar panel system can extend its lifespan to the maximum and may lead to a lower solar panel degradation rate. Also, a well-maintained solar system can promise a consistent good energy production performance. To ensure that your panels will last longer, you can do the following:
- Let solar-power companies check up on your solar panel system to scan for possible damages due to weather or malfunctioning parts that are not realized right away.
- Clean your roof regularly to clear the panels from dangerous materials such as debris, twigs, leaves, etc.
Solar panel reliability
Solar panels are created to last long and are a product of advancements in technology to utilize and generate clean energy. Thus, we can say that it is a reliable way of powering your home or business. Moreover, its benefits are truly remarkable and do not stop at being a clean energy provider.
Go Solar with Spring Solar!
Should you want to know more about solar power, make sure that you are getting help from a reliable solar panel company. Get a free estimate or quote from Spring Solar now.