If you have solar panels installed on your roof or if you have the idea of installing it, one of the questions that arise is how long my panels will work or what is the same which is the USEFUL LIFE OF SOLAR PANELS
USEFUL LIFE OF SOLAR PANELS
An important question that people ask themselves before buying solar panels is how long they last. The useful life also determines the recovery period of the solar panels.
The final useful life depends on the type of solar panels you choose, but also on the inverters of the panels. You can read more about this in this article.
The useful life of the solar panel depends on the type of panel.
Solar panels actually require little or no maintenance. In addition, it is a solid mass that contains few or no moving parts. These factors have a positive influence on the useful life of solar panels.
A solar panel installation lasts on average between 15 and 30 years . In some cases this can reach up to 40 years and more. It is true that there are three different types of photovoltaic solar panels, each with its own useful life:
1-Panels monocrystalline solar panels
This type of solar panels is the most common, along with polycrystalline solar panels. Monocrystalline panels are approximately 10% more expensive, but achieve maximum efficiency.
In this way, you can achieve a sufficiently high capacity with a limited number of panels. This is therefore very interesting for smaller ceilings. These solar panels will last approximately 25 years .
2-Panels Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels now also get good results thanks to improved technologies.
On average, it can have a useful life of 25 to 30 years , and this at a relatively reasonable price. In contrast to the previous variant, these solar panels work best in indirect sunlight.
3- Amorphous solar panels
Amorphous silicon solar panels, also called thin-film solar panels, have the shortest life of all three, but the cheapest price. On average you can assume a useful life of 15 years .
These panels also work very well at high temperatures, but achieve lower efficiency.
|Type of solar panel||Solar panel lifespan|
|Amorphous solar panels||15 years|
|Monocrystalline solar panels||25 years|
|Polycrystalline solar panels||25-30 years|
Note: efficiency decreases slightly over time
It is true that the efficiency of a panel decreases around 0.4% per year, although in reality this figure may be even lower. Certainly, with recent solar panels, this figure can be called minimal.
Due to UV light and extreme temperatures, the quality of solar cells decreases, so that after 25 years they still reach an efficiency of around 80-90%.
From that moment, the loss of performance is increasingly slow. The influence on the useful life of the panels is, therefore, quite limited;
After 25 years, the installation will be reimbursed for a long time and it will even be profitable. The average repayment time is around 10 to 14 years.
Investors also determine the useful life of solar panels
Investors are an important part of solar panels. They make sure that the DC current in the panels is converted into alternating current that can be used in the home.
There are three different types of inverters: a chain inverter, a microinverter and an optimizer system. Microinverters usually last longer.
Because an investor constantly provides intensive work, it will wear out over time. Depending on the chosen investor, the age is between 8 and 12 years .
Therefore, you can assume that you must replace the inverter at least once in a 25-year period. Fortunately, these costs are reasonably good: they have approximately 1000 to 1500 euros.
Can you increase the useful life of solar panels?
You may be wondering if you can do something by yourself to maximize the lifespan of the panels. There are indeed some things you can do to give an impulse to return and life:
- Clean solar panels : although solar panels require little maintenance, it is advisable to clean them occasionally (on average once a year). Especially in the summer, during dry periods, this is a good idea.
- Track system output: by monitoring the installation from time to time, you can verify if the desired return is achieved. You can read the inverter output, but you can also choose to install the so-called ‘registration system’ on your smartphone on a tablet. In this way you can easily request and read all the data. If you notice that the solar panels are not working well, then it is early and you can contact the installer or producer. Also check regularly if the wiring is still connected correctly.
The correct installation is important!
To ensure the highest possible life, it is also important that the solar panels are installed correctly. If this does not happen, the installation will be less profitable and will last less.
Therefore, the wiring and connections are crucial, as is the position (slope) and orientation of the solar panels. A solid anchor on the roof is also essential. That is why it is always advisable to use a reliable and experienced installer.