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How long do solar panels last?

Solar power has fast become the nation’s favourite choice when it comes to switching to a greener source of energy. It’s a no-brainer, really: solar power is clean, renewable, and can be generated at home, leading to big savings for the environment and your pocket. It’s little wonder that so many people have opted to switch to solar power. But one of the questions we hear often from customers is a straightforward one – how long do solar panels last?

Part of the appeal of solar power is the ability to make savings that build up over time. Basically, the longer you have solar panels installed and generating power, the more your savings will grow, eventually realising your return on investment. This naturally begs the question, ‘how long do solar panels last?’ – having an answer to this makes working out savings and returns from solar panels a whole lot easier and more accurate. 

So, how long do solar panels last? 

Studies have shown that solar panels last for 25 to 30 years. This is good news for anyone concerned with the potential longevity of their solar system. Even better, the panels won’t simply stop working after several decades. They will continue to produce electricity for many years after that, it’s just that it will be at a rate below what the manufacturers would describe as ‘optimal’. So when we say that solar panels last for 25 to 30 years, what we really mean is that they are performing at their best during this timeframe. 

What affects how long solar panels last? 

All solar panels have something called a ‘rate of degradation’ which is the term given to describe the speed with which the panels lose their efficiency and output over time. Thankfully, with modern solar panels like the ones used in Project Solar UK installations, the rate of degradation is barely a factor, sitting at around 0.2 to 0.3% per year. This means that our solar panels lose very little of their total capacity, even over long periods of time – thereby protecting your investment for years to come. So if you’re asking ‘how long do solar panels last’ about these ones in particular, the answer is: a long time. Today’s solar panels can still output at more than 95% of their off-the-shelf capacity, even after 25 to 30 years. 

Can you make solar panels last longer?

If you’re asking yourself how long do solar panels last, another question you might have on your mind is whether there is anything you can do to prolong the lifespan of your solar panels? In other words, is there anything you can do to make your solar panels last longer?

The short answer here is to make sure you choose a solar power installer who can be trusted to use only the highest quality materials and to set things up in a way that is designed to maximise efficiency and output. Put simply, shoddy installations that use lower-quality materials (for example cheap, low output panels or poor quality inverters) will not last as long as solar systems that are well-built and put together using high-quality materials. Make sure to read the reviews of solar companies and ask lots of questions about the panels and other kit they use. All of our installations feature SunPower Maxeon solar panels, which are known to be among the most efficient and long-lasting in the business. We also use leading-edge inverters (the clever bit that converts the electricity into a usable current) in our systems, so the lifespan of your panels won’t be hampered elsewhere in the set-up. 

Ideally, you also need to keep an eye on the performance of your solar panels and system, to make sure you’re getting the output that was expected and that there are no spikes in degradation or anything else that might cause alarm. This is made a lot easier if you choose to work with a solar power company that includes app-based monitoring systems with its installations. This will allow you to use a smartphone or computer to check on your solar power system and make sure it is performing as expected. If not, the analytics should show where the problem is, allowing technicians to make fixes as required. Identifying and fixing any issues with the system is best practice when it comes to ensuring the long lifespan of the solar panels. 

As with anything like this, general maintenance is also advised when looking to make your solar panels last longer. Keeping them free of debris and other damaging materials is key. When they are installed, we will make sure your panels are not positioned under an overhanging branch or anything that is likely to cause large or heavy debris to fall on the panels. But over time, leaves and other materials may build up on the roof. Keeping panels clean and free from excess debris that might hinder their performance is another good way of making sure the panels go on producing energy long into the future. 

Get rid of guesswork by speaking to the experts 

As well as asking yourself, ‘how long do solar panels last’, you’re bound to have other queries relating to your solar power installation. Speak to the experts at Project Solar UK today for all the advice you need on the best type of solar panel to choose, how best to situate them on your property, and importantly, how many solar panels you will need to meet your household energy needs. 

We pride ourselves on our friendly approach to customer service, which puts your needs front and centre. Our amazing feedback and five-star TrustPilot reviews from happy customers show why we’re the nation’s biggest and best solar company. For a no-obligation chat and to get more information about solar power, speak to a consultant today using the details here.