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What is the Life Expectancy of Solar Farms?

By January 10, 2023January 11th, 2023Blog, News
Closeup view of a long row of solar panels in a solar farm with green grass on one side and a sunset in the background.

Solar panels are designed to last for more than 25 years. Many solar panels installed in the 1980s are still operating at predicted levels. Solar panels are incredibly durable, and their lifespan has risen significantly during the past 20 years. Solar panel manufacturers offer their products with performance guarantees and mention that in their warranty cards.

Solar farms are reliable and can operate for decades. Remember that just because a solar panel is predicted to last a few decades doesn’t mean it will eventually stop providing electricity. It means that the energy output may decrease over time compared to the amount necessary to meet energy requirements.

Like other technology and devices, commercial solar panels’ energy production also declines. This is called the degradation rate. The average solar panel deterioration rate is around 0.5%, which is the annual reduction rate in energy output. After 20 years, your solar farms will operate at roughly 90% of their original output.

How Long Do Solar Farms Last?

Utility-scale solar farm in California.

The industry benchmark for solar panel life is 25 to 30 years. A solar panel won’t fail after 25 to 30 years, however, its power production will significantly fall short of what the manufacturer predicted. It isn’t easy to comprehend the initial costs of going solar without understanding how long you can anticipate your solar farms to produce enough energy.

In the long run, your solar panels will offset your electricity consumption and significantly lower your energy bills. However, it’s crucial to understand industry estimates and degradation rates to know when you’ll need to replace your system.

Solar farms are not physically harmed by severe wind, weather, debris, or other external conditions; solar panels, also known as solar modules, continue to function for many decades.

Components on solar panels are stationary and don’t move. As a result, they seldom break internally, and stormy weather doesn’t affect them.

Solar Warranties

Additionally, a few different warranties come with solar panels that might help you estimate how long their lifespan will be. You’ll need an equipment warranty to protect against manufacturing flaws and a performance warranty to ensure that your panels produce a specific amount of electricity from your manufacturer.

It’s crucial to remember that flaws beyond the manufacturer’s control, such as damage brought on by fallen tree branches, aren’t covered by warranties.

It would help if you looked at the performance warranty to understand your solar panels’ expected depreciation rate. A performance warranty, often a 25-year warranty, ensures that your solar panels will continue to produce an annual percentage of their original output.

Ways to Make Your Solar Farms Last Longer

Worker checking solar panels on a roof.

Solar panels are a helpful resource because they require very little maintenance unless you live in an area prone to dirt, pollen, sand, or dust because of an arid climate. However, it is optional to clean solar panels daily.

Although solar panels usually require little upkeep, it’s still crucial to periodically inspect your solar panels and keep an eye on how they perform. To make sure your solar installation is operating at its best potential, follow these steps:

1. Keep Debris and Other Potentially Destructive Items Away From Your Panels

The buildup of dust, leaves, pollen and bird droppings can impact the effectiveness of your solar farm. Although rain is enough to clean your solar panels, you can hire a professional cleaner if you notice they aren’t operating to their maximum potential.

Furthermore, it is helpful to remove nearby trees or other vegetation, so they do not shade your panels. Additionally, they could potentially fall during a storm and cause significant damage, so that is why maintenance is important.

Your solar panel installer will check to make sure there are no big trees nearby that could shade your panels or drop branches on them before they are initially installed. Your solar panels will continue to provide electricity for many years, possibly far beyond the 25 to 30-year lifetime of regular solar panels, as long as you can protect them from physical damage.

You can also get specialized products to guard against particular physical harm to your panels. For example, solar panel guards prevent birds and rodents from living around your solar panels.

You can contact your solar provider if any of these things interfere with or harm your panels, and you need knowledge or tools to take further action.

2. Ensure That Your Panels Are Routinely Maintained and Checked

Regular maintenance checks enhance the effectiveness of your solar panels, inverter, meters, and other components. Additionally, keeping track of changes in your energy usage and electric bills is essential.

If your solar panels are less effective after rain or being hosed down with water, or if your power bill suddenly increases, it could be an electrical issue, and a qualified electrician can fix it.

Make sure your installer or operations and maintenance provider routinely inspects your solar panel installation to ensure your solar panels survive a long time. Regular maintenance inspections can spot potential problems, including unsecured racking, exposed wiring, and other potential problems.

If you somehow harm the panels on your roof, you risk getting the guarantee on those panels. Thus, it’s crucial to have a professional checkup on your panels rather than doing it yourself.

A professional can also inspect your roof racking system and solar inverters with your solar panels. A central inverter for a photovoltaic (PV) installation typically has a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years. Therefore, it will eventually need to be replaced.

However, micro inverters typically have a 25-year lifespan, the same as solar panels. Ensuring your panels are firmly attached to your roof is essential to racking so they don’t become slack and move about or fall off entirely.

3. Work with a Reliable Solar Company

Finding a reliable solar installation company is the best thing you can do to ensure your solar system lasts a long time. Although solar systems only need a little maintenance regularly, some solar suppliers offer all-inclusive commercial solar maintenance plans for the duration of their product life to guarantee that they effectively generate clean, reliable, and affordable energy for decades.

We strongly advise relying on professional assistance if your panels need more than a basic hosing down or climbing up on the roof.

Solar farms are, without a doubt, a significant investment. You can take advantage of dependable, tension-free, sustainable energy for years to come because it last longer.

The first step in having a long-lasting solar energy system is having it installed correctly. The best approach to keep your solar panels functioning over the long haul is to hire a reliable installer who provides good customer service and a labor warranty.

As mentioned, getting high-quality solar panels with strong warranties is crucial to preserve your solar investment. Make sure the provider of your solar panels ensures that they won’t have any flaws and will work effectively for a very long time.

Your solar panels’ energy payback time is much longer than their lifespan of 25 to 30 years, so you don’t need to be concerned about it. The energy payback time is when a solar panel generates enough clean electricity to “payback” the energy needed to create it.

The energy pay back time (EPBT) of a solar panel is only six months, which has undoubtedly decreased over the past six years as panel manufacturing has become more effective.

Solar Farm Projects with Coldwell Solar

Going solar is a financial investment in this planet’s future and results in low power bill payments. By working with a solar installation company that supplies your desired products, you can ensure your solar panel system is as sustainable as possible.

Solar farms last long and provide you with energy for the long term. Coldwell Solar provides eco-friendly solar equipment if you want to install solar panels, and you can make simple financing choices for clean energy. You can rest easy knowing you’re working with a certified solar company because all our installers are experienced and trained to deliver the highest quality services.

The Fed has passed a bill granting renewable energy funds, meaning an expanded tax credit for renewable energy users

Contact us to learn how you can benefit today