When people ask about solar, a question we often hear is, “how long do the solar panels last?” Although this seems like it should have a simple answer, the truth is it’s a little more complex.
Warranty vs. lifespan
Solar panels are incredibly durable, have no moving parts, and generally require little to no maintenance. As a result of panel durability and low maintenance, they typically have a 25 and 30-year manufacturer’s warranty. Although this is considered to be the estimated lifespan of a solar panel, most panels will continue to produce energy well beyond their warranty.
Solar panels typically have a degradation rate of under 1 percent per year. The degeneration rate means a panel that is just two years old produces electricity at about a 98-99 percent efficiency rate.
Additionally, while solar panels produced in the past are about 75 to 80 percent efficient after 25 years, solar panels produced today will retain up to 92 percent efficiency after the same time period.
When taking into account that the United States Department of Energy says most solar electric systems last 30 years and pay for themselves in less than half that time, after tax credits and rebates, it is safe to say that most property owners will have more than recouped their initial investment by the time they may need to consider replacing any of their panels.