Wondering How Long Your Solar Panel Will Last?

Are you planning to install solar panels in your home? 

Solar panels are a great way to save money and the environment. 

Unfortunately, solar panels don’t last forever. 

Solar panels generate energy by allowing photons, or light particles, to knock electrons loose from atoms. Solar panels are numerous smaller units called photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. A solar panel is made up of many cells that are joined together.

Each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting solar panel material like silicon. To work, photovoltaic cells need to establish an electric field. Much like a magnetic field, which occurs due to opposite poles, an electric field occurs when opposite charges are separated. To get this field, manufacturers "dope" silicon with other materials, giving each slice of the sandwich a positive or negative electrical charge.

According to the American Chemical Society, they specifically seed phosphorous into the top layer of silicon, which adds extra electrons with a negative charge to that layer. Meanwhile, the bottom layer receives a boron dose, resulting in fewer electrons or a positive charge. All of this adds up to an electric field at the intersection of the silicon layers. When a photon of sunlight frees an electron, the electric field pushes that electron out of the silicon junction.

How To Calculate The Amount Of Solar Panels You Need To Power A House

If you have the necessary information, calculating how many solar panels you require is quite simple. It all starts with the load that has to be supplied by solar. How many kWh does a home consume?

For solar panel size, follow the procedures below:

  • What is the load? How much energy does your home consume?
  • What are the peak sun hours in your area? (irradiance)
  • To calculate the theoretical size of a solar system, use the load and irradiance.
  • Adjust the size of the solar panels to accommodate for system losses.
  • Divide the modified solar system size by the wattage of each panel.

You can estimate the number of solar panels required for your home by utilizing the previous year's energy bill and your location's irradiance value in kWh/m2/year (Peak-sun-hours) to calculate the potential solar production required. Divide the theoretical solar kWh by the loss factor of 1.44 and divide by the watts rating of each solar panel.

How long do solar panels last?

The industry standard for the productive lifetime of a solar panel is 25-30 years.

On the other hand, a solar panel will not expire after 25-30 years; instead, its production will fall well short of what the manufacturer predicted. It's difficult to determine the upfront cost of switching to solar without knowing how long your rooftop panels will provide enough energy. Your solar panels will be able to balance your electricity consumption for decades, but it is also critical to grasp industry estimates and degradation rates.

According to a 2012 research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar panel output reduces by 0.8 percent per year. This rate of decline is referred to as the solar panel degradation rate. However, this rate of decline measure will differ depending on the brand of the panel you choose. Solar panel deterioration rates are continually improving as solar panel technology advances, and degradation rates of less than 1% are prevalent throughout the industry.

More efficient technologies have been developed in the years after this 2012 study. Many modern panels have only a 0.5 percent yearly loss in energy output or even less in some cases.

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