Whether you already have residential solar panels or you’re considering making the switch to solar, you may be wondering how often rooftop solar panels need to be replaced?
The good news is that solar panels are built to last for many years, and with proper maintenance, they can last even longer.
- 1 How Often Do They Need to Be Replaced?
- 2 Why Do Solar Panels Need to be Replaced?
- 3 Can Solar Panels Be Recycled?
- 4 How Often Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?
- 5 How Long Do Solar Panels Take To Pay For Themselves?
- 6 How Often Do Solar Panels Break?
- 7 Other Parts of your Solar System
- 8 Ways to Extend Solar Panel Life
How Often Do They Need to Be Replaced?
Most manufacturers offer a warranty of 20-25 years for their solar panels, and many panels will continue to produce electricity for 30 years or more. However, it’s important to note that the amount of electricity your panels produce will decrease over time as the panel degrades.
If your solar panels are well maintained they should only need to be replaced after 20 to 25 years of service.
Related: How Exactly Do Solar Panels Work?
Why Do Solar Panels Need to be Replaced?
Solar panel degradation
Solar panel degradation is the main reason why panels need to be replaced. Over time, the solar cells in your panels will break down and become less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity.
Solar panels have a typical degradation rate of 0.5% each year, according to NREL studies; however, it might be greater in hotter climates and for rooftop installations.  A degradation rate of 0.5% implies that solar panel output will fall at a yearly pace of 0.5%.
Exposure to UV rays and adverse weather conditions
Over time, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and other environmental factors can damage the surface of solar panels and cause them to degrade more quickly.
How can I extend the life of my solar panels?
There are a few things you can do to help extend the life of your solar panels and keep them working at peak efficiency for as long as possible:
- Keep your panels clean
- Inspect your panels regularly
- Add shade protection
- Have them checked and maintained
Keep your panels clean
By regularly having your solar panels cleaned, you can help to prevent dirt and debris from building up on the surface of your panels and affecting their performance.
Inspect your panels regularly
It’s a good idea to check your solar panels on a regular basis to look for signs of harm or deterioration. If you detect any fractures, breaks, or other damage, it’s critical to have them fixed as soon as feasible to avoid additional damage.
Add shade protection
If your panels are located in an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight, it’s a good idea to add some shade protection to help keep them cool and prevent them from overheating.
Have them checked and maintained
Having your solar panels checked and maintained by a professional on a regular basis can help to ensure that they are always working at peak efficiency and can help to extend their lifespan.
Can Solar Panels Be Recycled?
Solar panels can be recycled, however due to the fact that there are several different elements that make up a panel, the recycling process can be complex.
The recycling process begins by removing the solar panel from its frame. The frame is then recycled separately. The solar panel is then chopped into small pieces and heated to melting point. This separates the silicon, glass, and metal components of the panel.
The silicon, glass, and metal are then separated and recycled accordingly. The silicon is used to make new solar cells, while the glass and metal are used to create new products.
Related: A few solar panel stats
How Often Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?
The fact that solar panels need little maintenance is one of the benefits of owning them. Most solar panel systems will last for many years with little to no maintenance required.
You can get them checked every five years or so to ensure that they are still in good condition and working properly, but other than that, there is not much else you need to do.
The main thing is to keep them clean and free of dirt and debris. You can do this by regularly getting them cleaned by a professional cleaning company.
It’s also a good idea to inspect your panels on a regular basis in order to identify any abnormalities or wear and tear. If you notice anything, have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid more harm.
How Long Do Solar Panels Take To Pay For Themselves?
It can take between 12 and 26 years which is the average payback period for a residential solar panel system.
It’s important to keep in mind that the payback period is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not to go solar. Solar energy will still save you money even after the payback period is over.
How Often Do Solar Panels Break?
Solar panels don’t break that often unless you have ha a violent storm or some other form of severe weather. Even then, they are usually just damaged and can be easily repaired.
You’ll know if one of the panels is broken if you see a drop in overall efficiency or power output. If you do notice a drop, then it’s important to have the damaged panel replaced as soon as possible.
Other Parts of your Solar System
It’s not just the panel array you need to check. Your system also has an inverter that converts the DC electricity your panels produce into AC electricity that can be used in your home.
In some cases, you may need to replace this inverter before you ever need to replace your panels.
You also have batteries if you have a solar system with battery backup. These batteries are what store the energy your system produces so you can use it when the sun isn’t shining.
The average lifespan of a lead-acid battery is 5 to 7 years, while the average lifespan of a lithium-ion battery is 10 to 15 years.
Your system also has a meter that measures how much power is being produced. This is important because it allows you to keep track of your system’s performance and make sure it is working properly.
If any of these parts break, it can affect the overall performance of your system, so it’s important to have them checked and replaced if necessary.
Ways to Extend Solar Panel Life
There are a few ways in which you can extend the life of your solar panels.
The first is to keep them clean. As mentioned before, dirt and debris can build up on your panels and affect their performance. Regular cleaning will help to prevent this from happening.
You can also protect your panels from severe weather by installing them in a location that is not prone to high winds or heavy rains.
If you live in an area with a lot of snow, you may want to invest in snow guards for your panels.
These devices prevent the snow from sliding off the roof and onto your panels, which can damage them.
Another way to extend the life of your solar panels is to purchase a performance warranty.
This type of warranty will cover the cost of repairs or replacement if your panels are damaged due to a manufacturing defect.