If you’re looking into installing solar panels for your home, one of your questions is likely how long the panels will last. The longevity of the solar panels impacts the overall quality of the investment. Additionally, if you eventually plan to relocate, the solar panels’ lifespan may affect whether you install solar panels now or wait until after you move.
This article will discuss the general timeline that homeowners can expect before needing to replace St. Louis Park solar panels. There are many factors that can affect solar panel longevity, so remember to consult with your local solar panel experts for answers to your specific questions.
Solar Panel Lifespan
Unfortunately, solar panels won’t perform optimally indefinitely. After around 25 to 30 years, according to current industry standards, the expected lifespan of most solar panels is up. This estimated lifespan doesn’t indicate when the solar panels will no longer work, however. At the end of their lifespan, solar panels can continue generating solar energy. But, the efficiency of the panels will be far less than it was at the beginning of their lifespan. This is why solar panels are generally replaced at the 25-to 30-year mark.
Solar Panel Degradation
The process of solar panels becoming less efficient over time is called degradation. Degradation occurs at different rates depending on the solar panel manufacturer, as well as outside factors such as the climate.
Degradation rates can range from 0.3% per year, which is very low, to 0.8% per year, which is considered high in the industry. An annual degradation rate of around 0.5% is standard.
With degradation, over time, solar panels produce less energy from the same amount of sun exposure. While this means that you won’t get the maximum benefit of your St. Louis Park solar panels, it doesn’t mean that the panels will be rendered useless. So long as you can continue meeting your household’s energy needs, degraded solar panels won’t be a major issue. Of course, the degradation will continue to progress, so you should still start thinking about replacing your solar panels at the end of their lifespan.
Damage to Solar Panels
For the vast majority of homeowners, the reason to replace their solar panels will be age. However, in rare circumstances, damage may force people to replace their solar panels earlier.
Since solar panels are built to be extremely strong and durable, the risk of damage is quite low. But, given that St. Louis Park solar panels are almost always installed on top of the roof, where they’re vulnerable to all different weather conditions, damage could occur.
The following are the main causes of solar panel damage:
Solar panels feature a durable sealant to prevent water damage. However, when that sealant starts to break down as the solar panels age, water may start to penetrate the surface of the panels. In some cases, this may lead to interior component damage or even a short-circuit. To avoid water damage, you can have your St. Louis Park solar panels resealed periodically as they start to age.
- Tree debris
If you have trees on your property, any branches hanging over your roof pose a risk to your solar panels. If any branches snap and fall onto your roof, they may scratch or puncture your solar panels. Leaves and smaller branches can also damage your solar panels by creating microscratches. These microscratches will diminish the performance of your solar panels, leading to reduced energy production.
The best way to prevent tree damage to your solar panels is to keep tree branches trimmed away from your roof. Schedule an appointment with an arborist periodically to ensure that the trees on your property won’t cause costly damage to your solar panel system.
While it’s uncommon, fire damage can affect solar panels. Since solar panels, when connected, make a high voltage line, the panels are a fire risk as the wiring wears down with time. If your solar panels are old, make sure to have them evaluated regularly. If the wiring is too old or damaged, replacing your solar panels will keep your home safe against the risk of fire.
To learn more about maintenance and installation for St. Louis Park solar panels, contact Midwest Construction today.