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Solar cell farm in power station for alternative energy from the sun (lifespan of solar panel)

Life Span of Solar Panel

Just because My Path is different doesn’t mean I don’t have life…!! – The life span of a Solar Panel.

Solar cell farm in power station for alternative energy from the sun (lifespan of solar panel)

The “quality” not the longevity of ones life is important. Solar power is the absurd dawn of energy. A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect, which is a physical and chemical phenomenon. You might be wondering what a photovoltaic effect means. It is nothing more than the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.

A photovoltaic system employs solar panels, each comprising a number of solar cells, which generate electrical power. Photovoltaic (PV) modules typically come with 20 year warranties that guarantee that the panels will produce at least 80% of the rated power after 20 years of use. The general thumb rule is that the panels will degrade by about 1% each year.

Standard Solar Panel Warranty is a major component for the long lasting life span of solar panels. The typical warranty for solar panels is 25 years. During this period, manufacturers guarantee that the panels will operate at near peak efficiency. Most panels are covered to produce at least 80% of their rated output over the life of the warranty.

Solar has a Heart…?!

Yes, it does. The heart of a solar power plant is an inverter. A solar inverter or PV inverter, is a type of electrical converter which converts the variable Direct Current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency Alternating Current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. However, while that’s usually the case with a central inverter (that handles the output of all the panels), a newer type, the ‘micro-inverters’, is installed or included with each solar panel, and is said to have a much longer lifespan (up to 25 years), and could last for decades as well.

Over a long period of time, solar panels do tend to wear out meaning they become less efficient at converting solar energy into usable electricity. The panel structure itself (frame, glazing, etc.) should not wear out, barring manufacturer defects. The problem lies in degradation of the solar cells within.

Wash to maintain..!

Maintenance is ultimately an important ingredient in the sustained life of solar panels. Solar panels generally require very little maintenance. They are very durable and should last around 25-30 years with no maintenance. The only type of maintenance required is to wash them clean of dirt and dust two to four times a year, which you can easily do with a garden hose.

Solar panel manufacturers put a lot of effort in making their solar panels robust. They need to be able to withstand heat/cold cycles and heavy weather. However, solar panels are not perfect and they will inevitably age. Keep reading to find out how age affects performance and what this actually means. The rated power output of solar panels typically degrades at about 0.5%/year. However, thin-film solar panels (a-Si, CdTe and CIGS) degrades faster than panels that are based on mono- and polycrystalline solar panels.

Solar after 25years…Curious? Take a look on the facts..!

You might ask, “what will happen to my solar panels after 25 years”, right? From what we have been seeing so far, we have several reasons to be excited. Here are a couple of interesting reports:

  • A 33W solar panel (Arco Solar 16-2000) actually outperformed its original factory specifications 30 years after it was manufactured.
  • The World`s first modern solar panel still works after 60 years.
  • Kyocera has reported several solar power installations that continue to operate reliably and generate electricity despite being nearly 30 years old.

 

To extend the lifespan..!

As there are many technological developments, the solar panels of today`s market are more robust and durable.  The lifespan of a modern solar panel is far longer than the 20 years that we use to calculate costs and earnings. This basically translates into more money in your pocket. Certain measures are there to extend the life of solar panels.

  1. Avoid physical damage (e.g. trees and bushes blowing in the wind and creating scratches). The more surface scratches, the more performance degradation. In the worst-case, water can seep through the surface, which can short-circuit the solar panels.
  2. Regular maintenance and cleaning is important. For in-depth information on the subject, check out Best Way to Clean Solar Panels.
  3. The more weather and wind the solar panels are exposed to, the faster they will degrade (e.g. think about shelter from the wind when evaluating placement.

So, Lifespan development is essential, as it goes hand in hand with the changes we go through during our life as well.

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