The job of solar panels is to convert sunlight into clean green DC electricity but because they sit outside on your roof and are subject to the elements, your solar system needs to be able to withstand all sorts of outdoor conditions.
How long do solar panels last on average?
Solar panels themselves are quite simple devices, which have no moving parts and once they are expertly installed on your roof they require very little maintenance. For most people that maintenance is usually just spraying the panels with a hose every so often to get any leaves, dust or dirt off so that the panels maintain optimum sunlight absorption.
At Lightforce, we only ever use high-performing hardware from brands we trust which means you’re getting the best quality system, and for added peace of mind, we only use solar panels with a 25 year product performance warranty.
Even after the warranty of your solar system expires, that doesn’t mean that the solar panels just stop working. They will continue to generate electricity, but the level of efficiency might be 80 – 90% of usual depending on your system.
What can cause damage to solar panels?
Your solar system is designed to be long-lasting and durable but there are a few things to be aware of that can potentially harm your system. Extreme weather conditions are top of the list as things like heavy snowfalls and high wind gusts can cause damage to your system over time but these are more likely in exposed places and not common enough to concern most solar customers in Aotearoa.
Other aspects of your system such as solar inverters, which is the component that converts your solar energy into usable energy, can potentially be damaged by poor insulation, overheating, and inappropriate installation. Solar inverters are more complex than solar panels and it is worthwhile investing in quality and why using a reputable installer is so important. They are a key component of your system and usually last at least 10 years when looked after. Most high end inverters come with a 10 year warranty.
While the mounting system on your roof can actually last longer than the roof does, any missing bolts or corrosion can make the system deteriorate faster. If you install solar batteries they should be regularly be checked for corrosion, and cleaned with a damp cloth. You will also want to check that the isolator switch is functioning as intended.
Like with any electrical component that has wiring there is the possibility of overloading, cracks or occasionally rodent damage but this is not that common.
Having a high-quality solar system that is expertly installed will minimise any issues and increase the longevity of your system.
Should you replace your solar panels?
Solar panels are designed to generate electricity for decades to come but after 25 years their efficiency slowly reduces by 10% – 20 % over time. They will still continue to generate electricity but if you want to get the maximum efficiency out of your solar power system then they can be replaced after 25 years. By which time you will be able to install any updated technology as solar panels have continued to advance over the years and there will likely be new technology in future .
To keep your solar panels in good condition, make sure you are cleaning them regularly. If the rain isn’t doing the job, we recommend getting them washed once every six months to one year.
Purchasing a monitoring solution with your solar system will make finding faults, and inefficiencies more straight forward, allowing your solar company of choice to do regular checks and keep on top of any potential issues making sure you get the best efficiency from your solar system for years to come.