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What is the actual lifetime of solar panels?

The efficiency loss of solar panels is about 0.5% – 0.7% per year. It is difficult to estimate the lifespan of solar panels because photovoltaics is still a fairly new field of technology.

What is the actual lifetime of solar panels?

We know for sure that a lot depends on the production process of the panels themselves: if the solar panel has no manufacturing defects and is not damaged by extreme weather conditions, its useful life will be decades!

What is the lifespan of solar panels?

Currently, the average warranty for panels is usually 10-15 years. Previous generations of solar panels (2000-2010) are believed to have a lifespan of at least 25 years. And the newest ones can work efficiently for up to 40 years.

The greatest efficiency losses occur in the early years. This also applies to good brand solar panels. We will notice the biggest loss of efficiency in the first 5-10 years. After that, the decrease in efficiency will gradually decrease. When a solar panel loses more than 20% of its efficiency, we can even speak of a technical failure.

You know 

 

The oldest grid-connected photovoltaic system in Europe has been operating since 1982 in Switzerland. It was then that the first grid-connected photovoltaic system in Europe, which was based on completely archaic components, for today’s conditions, was launched in Lugano, Switzerland. After 20 years of operation, 59 percent. the modules showed less than 10% degradation. in relation to the initial nominal power, in the case of 35 percent. modules, the degradation amounted to 10-20 percent, and only in the case of 6 percent. the power rating of the modules has dropped below 80 percent. Initial nominal power, that is, below the capacity currently guaranteed by the module manufacturers after 25 years of operation. 

How weather conditions affect the useful life of photovoltaic panels

Why such differences in the forecast of the efficiency of photovoltaic cells? In addition to the factory quality of the panels, the most important factors causing a decrease in their performance are the intensity of UV radiation and extreme weather conditions, and these are very individual factors. How do climatic conditions contribute to the decrease in cell efficiency?

  • High temperatures , contrary to the belief that photovoltaics works best in hot climates with lots of sunlight, causes solar panels to lose their effectiveness and wear out quickly. 
  • Hail : Photovoltaic energy can withstand normal storms and hail. Some manufacturers say their solar panels “are designed to withstand hail up to 28mm in diameter.” However, hail and an intense and violent storm can cause significant damage.
  • Rain and snow : a layer of snow of two centimeters reduces the transmittance of solar radiation inside the photovoltaic panel by approximately 80%, and with a layer of 10 cm, permeability is reduced to a minimum. 

All photovoltaic panels must have a performance (efficiency) guarantee. Most brands of solar panels offer a 25-year performance guarantee on their products. The key value is the loss of efficiency of the panels over time: the lower the loss of efficiency, the better. Most brands specify a yield loss in the range of -0.35% to -0.5% per annum on the guarantee.

Is it possible to extend the life of photovoltaic cells?

 

Los paneles fotovoltaicos no requieren ninguna medida de conservación especial, a menos que queramos controlar su estado en condiciones climáticas extremas. También vale la pena comprobar cada año el estado del cableado: que nada esté dañado y que todo esté correctamente conectado entre los paneles solares, el inversor y la caja de fusibles. Se recomienda la limpieza de las células solares en verano y períodos de sequía (el polen, las hojas, el polvo, los excrementos de aves pueden provocar una disminución de la eficiencia del 2-3% en el caso de baja incidencia hasta un 30%). Recuerde utilizar equipo profesional y, si no está seguro de sus propias capacidades, contrate a la empresa adecuada.

Si quieres encargarte tú mismo de tu instalación, ¡recuerda!

  • No lave los paneles a la mitad del día, están calientes, espere hasta que se enfríen.
  • No utilice materiales abrasivos u otros productos similares, ya que pueden rayar el delicado revestimiento de los paneles.
  • No ingrese al techo sin la protección adecuada – ¡Riesgo de descarga eléctrica!
  • No utilice detergentes: los materiales del panel pueden reaccionar y deteriorarse.
  • No utilice hidrolimpiadoras a presión, ya que pueden destruir el sello de silicona entre el vidrio y el marco del módulo y generar corrientes de fuga.

 

La limpieza regular de los paneles fotovoltaicos puede mejorar su eficiencia en casi un 14%, como lo demuestran las investigaciones científicas llevadas a cabo en la Universidad Técnica de Berna, Suiza.

Experts agree: solar panels outperform your average warranty period. Even after the warranty has expired, the panels should continue to function normally. The current generation of high-quality solar panels is expected to last between 40 and 50 years.