Home Energy Management Installing Solar Panels: Important Things You Need to Know

Installing Solar Panels: Important Things You Need to Know

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INTERNATIONAL REPORT—One of the greatest threats to humanity at the moment is the depletion of the world and its resources. As a result of various factors like pollution, global warming, and the greenhouse effect, the world is dying a slow death.

If you want to stop or postpone this rate of destruction, then you need to switch over to using renewable sources of energy.

There are many forms of renewable sources of energy. They are found in nature in abundance. They cannot be depleted. As long as the earth stays, these sources of energy will stay.

Solar energy is one such form of renewable energy. The photovoltaic (PV) cells in the solar panels tap the sun’s rays and convert the heat energy into electric energy.

However, unlike solar energy, solar panels will not last forever. Rather, they degrade over time. So, what is the lifespan of solar panels? Keep reading to learn more.

Solar Panels: Benefits

There are multiple benefits to installing solar panels.

The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of solar panels is the reduced electricity bill. Since you are not using the utility’s electrical energy, there is a reduction in your bill.

One of the most important reasons why solar energy became popular in the world was because of the harmful effects of the fossil fuels used to service electric power.

There is another reason why you should think about installing solar panels on your property. The reason for this is the fact that the value of the property improves after installing the panels.

Some of the benefits of going solar are:

  • The panels are low maintenance.
  • There is a reduction in the electricity bill.
  • It is environmentally friendly and helps to combat climate change.
  • There is a feeling of independence due to the solar energy installation.
  • Finally, there is a positive return in investment.

The Lifespan of Solar Panels

The lifespan of the solar panel generally depends on the manufacturing company. However, on average, they last for approximately 30 years.

These first 20 to 30 years are the “useful life of the system.” The energy produced during these years is of high quality. The solar panels perform 100 percent of their optimum capacity in their useful years. The solar panels degrade at a slower rate after these years.

Therefore, they produce less electricity as they age. This process that slowly leads to their death is known as the process of degradation.

Solar Panel Degradation

The degradation of the solar panels depends on the manufacturer of the panels. However, after they have crossed their useful stage, they start producing less electric energy.

There are a variety of external factors on which the rate of degradation of solar panels depends. However, most of it is because of the weather and the heat of the sun. These can actively, over a period, wear out the panels and negatively impact the ability of energy production.

Another important factor on which solar panel degradation depends is the microcracks. These microcracks, which are almost negligible to the eyes, form in the silicon crystals that are present in the solar panels. These cracks hamper the electrical connections and cause them to deteriorate.

In other words, the electrons that flow among the PV cells of the panel have fewer paths to travel and transfer the energy to the places where they are necessary. As a result, lesser energy travels to the inverter.

The Solution to Solar Panel Degradation

You may ask if there is any way to fix this problem of degrading solar panels. Unfortunately, the answer is yet to be found.

Because there are many factors that affect the lifespan and productivity of solar panels, it is difficult for scientists to come up with a fixed solution.

The manufacturers of solar panels are constantly trying to evolve to solve the problems related to the deteriorating productivity of the panels. However, the only solution to a constant flow of solar energy to light up your homes is getting new panels once the old ones degrade.

The solar panels do not have any moving parts. So unlike cars, where you can change the parts once they start degrading, you cannot fix the deterioration of solar panels.

There are many people who have faced the problem of the early degradation of solar panels. Most of the time, this is because of damage from a rough installation process. Even if your solar panel is very sturdy, it will not be able to withstand a rough installation process.

Once the effectiveness of your solar panels degrade, the only solution left is to install new panels once you see that the output of energy from the old panels has started to decrease.

Why Invest in Solar Panels?

One question that many consumers have regarding solar panels is: “Why invest in them if they are going to degrade over time?”

The answer to that is simple. Even if it is true that the solar panels will degrade over time, it still gives you great service for a very long time. Even after the end of the useful life of the solar panel, it goes on to produce energy for years. Although the quality of energy deteriorates and the output of energy decreases, the flow of energy does not stop.

The panel’s production may go below 80 percent, but it does not become totally useless. Even at a lower efficiency level, the panel will go on to produce energy.

A study that was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that the rate of degradation of panels (especially the monocrystalline ones) after their use is just 0.4 percent. This means that the rate of degradation slows down after they age.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Causes Solar Panel Degradation? The solar panels generally degrade over time as they wear out due to the exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun. It can also happen because of the adverse conditions of the weather.

2. Do Unused Solar Panels Degrade Over Time? Even if they are unused, the solar panels will degrade. The useful life of the panels may get extended for a few years. But the external factors will still make the panels degrade.

3. What Is Solar Degradation? The process in which the solar panels deteriorate over the years and their rate of energy output decreases is known as solar panel degradation or solar degradation.

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