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How long do solar panels last?

One of the best things about having solar panels installed, is that you’ll have a reliable and continuous power source for years. But a burning question for all solar panel owners is, how long will they last?

How long is the average lifespan of a solar panel?

The average solar panel has a guarantee of 25 years. Buying a solar panel from Wickes powered by Solar Fast gives you an extra 5 years, as we’re proud to offer a 30-year guarantee. It takes around 10 years for solar panels to return their investment, which makes the majority of their life span pure profit.

After these 25 years, your solar panel won’t suddenly stop working. With an average degradation rate of 0.5% per year, they’ll still be functioning at 80% of their initial efficiency. What once generated 405 watts, will generate a still impressive 324 watts.

Because the actual panel is the cheapest part of the system, it’s not a massive expense to replace either. And you can rest easy knowing that, even after their 25-year guarantee, they’ll keep going for twice as long.

What’s the difference between a performance warranty and a product warranty?

A solar panel system always come with one or more warranties. Lets’ breakdown what these mean:

What shortens a solar panels lifespan?

Several factors can affect a solar panels lifespan, including:

High temperatures

Ironically, solar panels can be damaged by high temperatures. The more direct sunlight there is, the harder your solar panels have to work which leads to a quicker degradation. Proper ventilation or air circulation is crucial to keep them cool. In the UK, the weather is ideal for protecting solar panels and prolonging their lifespan.

Pitch of install

If your solar panels are installed at a lower angle, you increase the chances of damage from debris, wildlife and water intake. Flatter panels can collect water on the glass surface, which then makes its way into the casing and causes internal damage to the cells.

String problems

The string connects the solar panels to the inverter. All the panels are connected to a single input which connects to the inverter. One bad or damaged panel will affect the rest and potentially absorb the current from the working panels. This causes the cells to heat up which will start to cause damage.

Giving your solar panels the best start lengthens their lifespan. Choose professional solar panel installers like Wickes Solar powered by Solar Fast, an established MCS registered company, to ensure you get a safe and a properly functioning system.

Is there something I can do to prolong the lifespan?

Solar panels don’t suffer much wear and tear, there’s no need for them to be serviced, and the only time they’ll need to be replaced is if they’re damaged. However, there are two things you can do to maximise efficiency.

Monitor your system

If you monitor your system, then you’ll be able to tell if something is wrong. There’s a very simple test to spot any potential issues. All you have to do is check that the light on the inverter is green during the day.

If it’s red or orange, then you know there’s a problem. Call the manufacturer or a qualified professional. They’ll perform an in-depth test to isolate the problem before it affects your whole system.

Get your panels cleaned

Cleaning your solar panels can sound like a daunting task. If you do this wrong, it may have a lasting impact on your solar panels. We have a full article here on the correct and safest way to clean your solar panels and help them last even longer.