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How long does a solar panel last?

It has been great to see solar energy uptake accelerating in New Zealand as our population becomes more sustainability-conscious and solar panels become more affordable and sophisticated. Solar energy helps people save money on electricity in the long term and reduce their carbon footprint.

In New Zealand, solar panel installation is subject to product standards that ensure safe operation and an acceptable level of productivity. However, one concern that is often raised by people who are considering solar energy is how long the panels will last. An important factor in understanding the upfront cost of solar panels is knowing how long they will last and what is involved in maintaining them. Solar panel lifespan is constantly improving as solar technology matures and evolves globally. So, what longevity can you expect from your solar energy system in 2021?

Most PV panels last at full capacity for over 25 years

A solar panel is a relatively simple device with no moving parts; they require minimal ongoing maintenance if they have been installed properly. Worldwide, the most up-to-date solar PV panels generally have a warranty for operating at optimum productivity for 25-30 years, and it’s very rare for solar panels to ‘go bad’. After 25-30 years, it is common to see the solar panel’s electricity production decrease 10-20% below their initial power output rating. High-quality panels have been shown to degrade at a far slower rate, while cheaper solar panels degrade faster. Some premium solar panels that were installed as early as the 1980’s are still running at full capacity!

Keep in mind that solar panels won’t just stop producing electricity after 30 years; their efficiency may decrease slightly, but they will still function as an excellent source of energy that has paid itself off in electricity bill savings decades ago!

Solar panels may have a shorter life span if regularly exposed to extreme weather

If the solar panels are constantly exposed to very extreme weather conditions, they are likely to deteriorate faster. This is less of an issue in New Zealand, where heavy snowfall and extreme weather events in residential areas are relatively rare.

Tips to make your PV solar panels last longer

To maintain maximum electricity output and extend the life of your solar panels for as long as possible:

- Keep your panels clear of debris, dust, dirt and pollen with a regular hosing down.

- Get a professional maintenance check every few years.

- Get your panels installed by a reputable provider in the first place, so you can rest assured that they will fix any (unlikely) issues that do come up.

- Ensure your panels are not placed beneath any branches or heavy objects that could fall in stormy weather.

- Regularly check that your panels do not have birds or rodents nesting underneath, as this can damage the wiring and roof attachments.

When to consider replacing your solar panels

If after 25-30 years you notice your electricity bill creeping back up, you may consider replacing your solar panels or adding additional panels to compensate for slightly reduced productivity. Both options will be a much less expensive undertaking than the initial installation, as the infrastructure will already be established for your home.

High-quality solar panels tend to have longer life cycles and are generally more productive and reliable. At Harrisons Energy, we offer premium panels with excellent warranties, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your solar energy investment will pay off with minimal long-term issues.

Would you like to learn more about how solar panels work in the long-term?

Learn more by getting in touch with the Harrisons Energy team. We deliver exceptional customer service and would love to share our knowledge about solar energy systems with you!

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