Solar panels are designed to generate electricity for decades. They typically have a useful life of 25 to 30 years, but panels often continue to produce energy far beyond that timespan. As time goes by, however, solar panels become less efficient due to degradation.
What Causes Solar Panels to Degrade?
Solar panels are exposed to a wide range of weather conditions that can cause them to gradually wear out and operate less efficiently. Solar panels, like many other objects, expand in warm weather and contract in cold weather. That can cause small cracks to form, which can reduce solar panels’ efficiency. Strong wind, snow, ice, and humidity can also contribute to degradation.
Exposure to the sun immediately after solar panels are installed causes them to degrade rapidly, but the rate of degradation quickly drops off. After that, solar panels degrade at a slower rate, typically 1% or less per year.
Why Are Degradation Rates Important When Choosing Solar Panels?
You want solar panels to produce as much electricity as possible for as long as possible. Even a small amount of degradation each year can add up over a period of decades.
Although all solar panels degrade, they do so at different rates. That can have a direct impact on the amount of electricity your solar panels can produce as time goes by. Panels with a higher degradation rate may generate significantly less electricity after 20 years, while panels that degrade more slowly may be much more efficient after two decades.
Degradation rates can also influence how often solar panels have to be replaced. Panels that degrade faster will have to be replaced sooner than ones that degrade at a slower pace.
How Can You Choose the Right Solar Panels for Your Home?
You can’t control the weather, but you can select solar panels that have relatively low degradation rates to minimize the impact of weather on your energy production. You can also choose a qualified company that will work with you to select an appropriate location for your solar panels and install them carefully to prevent damage.
The team at SAVKAT can discuss your energy usage, explain how converting to solar can save you money in the long run, and help you choose the right solar panels for your home. We can tell you more about degradation rates, explain the solar panel installation process, and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more.