As many households and offices move from relying solely on hydropower plants to solar panels, there has been an upsurge in production and cost which is perfectly relatable. Solar panels are not a new technology but somehow, they were overlooked for decades. They date as far back as 1800 when they were being used in industries to heat water for production. With advancements in technology, transistors were developed and other changes were made to the pre-existing panels. Today, solar panels are highly sought after as many people are transitioning to clean sources of power.
With the need for transportation (of power from the source to point of consumption) removed, solar panels are more likely to last longer than other power generators. When deciding how many solar panels to power a whole house, some factors have to be considered the most important being how much power is being consumed by the household.
HOW LONG CAN A SOLAR PANEL BE USED?
Right next to the “how many solar panels do I need for my house” is the “how long would my solar panels last” question. Nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on a product they would have to renew every year or worse still, twice a year so it is only wise that you ask questions before making a decision.
Just like many other products, solar panels depreciate over the years. A solar panel may be able to produce up to 265 watts of energy in the first five years but by year 7, the output may drop to 258 watts. This doesn’t mean that your panel is fake or substandard. It is only a natural rule. This degradation keeps going on with every passing year until you decide whether or not to change it.
Generally, solar panels are projected to last as long as 25 to 30 years. As illustrated above, the power production of the panels decline over these 30 years and after the cycle is complete, the panels may still be very fit for use. A couple of years ago, a study was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the results showed that solar panels lose an estimate of 0.8% of their output year after year. What this decline indicates is that a solar panel, after one year of usage, can still produce up to 99.2% output. Ten years down the line, the same solar panel is expected to produce about 92% of output, all factors being equal.
So after 30 years of usage, the panels may have lost an average of 24% of their power output which is still considerable. However, advancements in technology have ramped up the lifespan of most solar panels and some brands now offer a declining percentage of 0.4% as against 1% which was attainable several years ago.
This means that your solar panels could be used for another 10 years or more depending on other conditions.
HOW TO PRESERVE THE LIFE OF YOUR SOLAR PANELS.
Solar panels are usually installed close to the area of use which removes the need for movement and adjustments. As a result, there is only little you can do to preserve the life of your panels but thanks to their compact nature, the panels can last for decades even without maintenance.
Nonetheless, there are a few practical steps you could take to at least, reduce the depreciation rate of your panels.
- Purchase your panels from a reputable dealer. Backyard Revolution has a reputation for providing sustainable means of solar energy for households of all sizes. Our solar panels are specifically built to supplement alternative power sources being used in the home and as a result, cuts down on electricity usage much more than other solar panels would.
- As long as it is within your power, keep your solar panels away from materials like trees, nests and poles that pose a threat to the cells. During installation, you would observe that the service provider would choose an area free from obstruction. After installation, it is your responsibility to keep that area clean and clear. We understand how challenging it may be for owners of small homes to map out large spaces for solar panels so we constructed our panels in a way that would reduce the need for space. By making the solar panels in a zig-zag pattern, users can have their panels installed in small spaces without losing energy.
If you observe that the panels have become a home to nesting animals, you should find a way to relocate the creatures otherwise, your panel stands a chance of getting damaged sooner than you expect.
- Get your panels checked by your service provider regularly. This is made even easier with the Backyard revolution guide. The guide contains all you need to know about installation and subsequent checks.
Beyond saving money, solar panels are a genius way of saving energy and the ecosystem. The initial cost of installation may be high but for a solar panel that lasts up to 30 years, the cost is worth it.