Solar panels are a great way to save money for homeowners. But as with everything, it is important to know how long they will last. Unlike replacing a light bulb or putting in a new shower head, most people will probably not consider replacing their solar panels. Understanding the lifespan of your solar panels is essential because they will either help you save money or cost you more than expected.
Here we will go over how long solar panels in New York last, how they age, and how to take care of them and extend their life expectancy.
The Average Lifespan of Solar Panels in New York
Solar panels in New York are designed and built to last 25 years, but they degrade over time. The degradation process starts from day one when a photovoltaic panel is manufactured. The process used to make the panels causes them to lose efficiency over time. The panels also lose about 0.5% of their efficiency yearly for the first 10 years. By 20 years into its life, a PV system will have lost about half its original efficiency — so it would produce half as much energy as it did when new, assuming no further deterioration.
The amount of degradation depends on a number of factors, including how long the solar panel has been exposed to the sun, the quality of the materials used in its construction, and how well it is maintained. Some people choose to replace their panels earlier than the manufacturer’s minimum guarantee because they worry about their panels producing less energy as they age.
Factors That Affect Solar Panel Lifespan
The average solar panel lifespan is 25 years, but the exact lifespan of solar panels in New York depends on many factors, including the quality of maintenance and installation, the environment where it is installed, and how much sunlight it receives.
Here is a quick look at those factors answering the question, why do solar panels degrade:
The weather conditions in your area will significantly impact how long your panels last. Rain and snow can damage the panel’s surface, causing them to lose efficiency over time. Extreme heat may also increase the degradation rate — especially if there is not enough ventilation around the panel or if it is not properly grounded against lightning strikes. Moreover, the dust buildup can cause problems since it blocks sunlight from hitting the cells and generating electricity. If these issues are not addressed quickly enough, they could lead to expensive repairs down the road.
The brand of your solar panels is also important in determining how long they will last. Many cheap brands use low-quality materials and have poor quality control, so their products may not last as long as they should. For example, lower-quality brands often have issues with the frame because it is made of cheaper materials that are more likely to crack or break over time. The best way to determine which brand has the highest quality is by reading reviews from previous users who have experience with specific brands. You can also look for third-party certifications from organizations like UL or Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that certify products based on certain criteria that must be met before they are allowed to be sold in the United States.
The installation process is another important factor in determining how long your solar panels will last. If you have professionally installed solar panels, they will probably last longer than if you install them yourself. This is because the installer will ensure that all of the connections are secure and that there are no loose wires or broken connections in the system, which could cause damage over time.
If you are installing your solar panels at home, then it is important to ensure that they are securely connected to your roof so that they do not become loose over time. This will help prevent any water from getting inside your panels which could cause damage over time.
The material type of your solar panel is another important factor affecting its lifespan. The most common materials used for solar panels are silicon, amorphous silicon, and cadmium telluride. Silicon is the most common material used for solar panels because it is more efficient and durable than other materials. Amorphous silicon is more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity than cadmium telluride, but it also has a shorter lifespan, so it may not be as cost-effective in the long run.
The most common types of silicon used for solar panels are crystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon, and multicrystalline silicon. Crystalline silicon has the longest lifespan since it comprises one large crystal structure (monocrystalline) or several smaller crystals (multicrystalline). However, this type of silicon is more expensive than other types due to its high purity level, which makes it less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. Monocrystalline silicon tends to be more costly but requires less energy for production and can generate more power than other forms of silicon.
Multicrystalline silicon, on the other hand, is made up of many small crystals instead of just one large one, like monocrystalline. Because there are more imperfections in the structure, it is not as efficient at turning sunlight into electricity, but it costs less than crystalline silicon because it requires less purification during manufacturing.
Mounting and Orientation
The mounting and orientation of your solar panels are other important factors affecting how long they will last. If you mount your panels on a tilted roof, then it is likely that they will not be as efficient as they would be if they were mounted flat on the ground. This is because sunlight hitting a tilted surface will be reflected off at an angle instead of directly onto the cells. This means that your panel’s power output will decrease over time.
The best way to maximize efficiency is by mounting your panels flat on the ground or on a flat roof with a tilt angle of about 30 degrees from the horizontal. However, if you have to mount them on a tilted roof, you should ensure that at least one edge of each panel is parallel with the ground so that the reflection does not interfere with their performance too much.
If possible, you should also try to orient your solar panels in New York so that they face south during the summer and north during the winter months since this will increase their overall efficiency by about 10% and help them last longer.
Maintenance and Inspection Frequency
Maintenance and inspection frequency are also important factors in determining how long your solar panels will last. If the panels are not taken care of properly, they can develop leaks or other problems that reduce their effectiveness over time. Regular inspections should be performed to identify any potential issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible so that they do not cause further damage.
For example, if you look at your solar panels every couple of months and see that some of them are starting to get cloudy or discolored areas, then this could indicate that they are beginning to degrade.
Therefore the better you take care of your panels, the longer they will last. If you do not have time to perform regular maintenance on them, then hiring someone specializing in solar panel maintenance might be a good idea. They can inspect your panels and tell you if any issues need to be addressed immediately, so they do not cause further damage over time.
Solar Panel Recycling: What You Need to Know
When solar panels reach their maximum lifespan, they can be recycled. The first step in solar panel recycling is to remove them from the roof and bring them to a recycling center. Once there, they will be tested for their purity and quality. Then they are dismantled and separated into different materials, which are then sold to companies that use them in various products like batteries or insulation.
The most common way to recycle solar panels is by selling them as scrap metal. The metal from the solar panel can then be melted down and used in other products like cars or appliances. Some rarer metals that make up the solar panel may be worth more than others, so some companies will only buy certain types of metal over others.
Another way to recycle solar panels is through solar panel refurbishment. This involves taking apart each part of the panel to see if it can be reused in another product or piece of equipment. If it cannot be reused, it is recycled in much the same way as scrap metal is recycled; however, if it can be reused, it will be sold as new parts for other solar panels or equipment.
Solar Panels Warranty for Longest Lasting Solar Panels
As discussed above, these days, it is not uncommon for the life of solar panels to net out at 25 years or more—but what happens if something happens to the solar panels in that time? Most people do not think ahead to this eventuality.
What you want is a guarantee that your solar panels will last until they are no longer needed. You want a warranty on the materials and a guarantee on the workmanship. That way, you can be sure that if there is some problem with the structure of your installation, it will not come as a surprise to you down the line. You will have time to plan for repairs or even get new solar panels.
Of course, there will be some limitations on what your warranty will cover. If one of your solar panels is cracked by an act of nature, this may or may not be covered by any warranty. But if it is just poor craftsmanship or poor quality materials, you are always covered under warranty—and often for many years after installation.
Solar Panels Monitoring Software for Longest Lasting Solar Panels
The solar panels monitoring software is a program that keeps track of certain aspects like temperature, voltage, and current to ensure maximum lifespan. There are two monitoring programs: the first is inbuilt and fully integrated into the system, and the second is added as an external program.
This software has high-end hardware that maintains optimum performance by controlling voltage and current levels through maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms. This allows the device to harvest more energy than traditional fixed-voltage charge controllers.
It also helps to maintain a uniform current flow throughout all the cells in your solar panels, which in turn increases their life expectancy by reducing the heat buildup due to resistance present in damaged or under-utilized cells. The best part about these control systems is that they are easily available online at reasonable prices with flexible payment options and multiple shipping options for better delivery.
The Bottom Line
In short, the most important part is not to let your solar panels get old. The degradation of solar panels will reduce their efficiency, and could lead to a more costly replacement of your whole system if this degradation proves too significant. Keeping close tabs on your panels and regularly cleaning them is the best way to ensure their long-term functionality. And even though they are technically good for 25 years, that does not mean you should not continue using them even if you have the right monitoring system in place.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Or, if you like, we can give you a no-obligation quote on your project. Our team at SolarMedix.com has served the New York and New Jersey area for over 19 years. We’ve completed nearly 6,000 projects. Put that experience to work for you. You can reach us at 732-785-4814 or book a consultation online. And we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.