Modern solar panels typically have a long lifespan of between 25 and 30 years, allowing homeowners to generate free electricity for up to three decades!

After this period, they will begin to degrade and become less efficient, meaning they will start to producing less electricity than before.

Typically, people who have solar PV installed will break even on the upfront cost of solar panels within 6 to 10 years, potentially leaving another two decades of near peak performance at no cost.

And the longer you keep your solar panel system productive, the more money you can save. Read on to find out more about the lifespan of solar PV panels.

lifespan of solar panels is 25 - 30 years

How to Maximise the Lifespan of Your Solar Panels

Shortens Lifespan Extends Lifespan
Poor-quality solar panels Maintenance Monitoring
Damaging weather conditions Quality mounting & installation
Lack of maintenance & care Top-of-the-line solar panels
Badly installed Keep the solar system clean

How Long Do Solar Panels Last

Different types of solar systems will also have different life expectancies based on the materials used in their manufacturing. Three main varieties of solar panel technology are Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and Thin Film.

Monocrystalline panels are made from a single silicon crystal, Polycrystalline panels are made from multiple crystals melted together before being cut, and Thin Film panels are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material laid over a frame.

The most expensive, and most efficient type of solar panel. Monocrystalline solar panels typically have an expected lifespan of 25 – 40 years.

What might be considered the mid-range option among current solar cell technologies, polycrystalline solar panels tend to have a life expectancy of 20 – 35 years.

Thin Film solar panels are the cheapest variety and have the shortest payback period. However, they also come with the lowest life expectancy at just 10 – 20 years.

None of these solar panels will stop working after the end of these projected lifespans, but they will lose efficiency. At a certain point, you have to decide whether the diminishing returns make it worthwhile to replace solar panels or not.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last

What Happens to Solar Panels as They Get Older

Solar panel efficiency is the term used to describe how much of the sun’s light is being converted into electricity by your solar panel system. As your solar PV system ages, the solar panel efficiency will degrade over time. This takes place at a small but steady rate.

In broad terms, solar panels’ efficiency degrades by an average of 0.5% each year. That means that after 20 years, they will be producing 10% less electricity than they did when you first bought them. But that still leaves you with a long time afterwards where they can be producing a lot of electricity.

It’s worth noting that there are currently around 50,000 homes in Ireland which have solar panels installed, and most of those have been in the past decade. So there’s not a lot of data available on their performance towards the end of their anticipated lifespan.

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How to Maximise the Lifespan of Your Solar Panels

Solar Panels require very little care overall, seeing as they have no moving parts that are susceptible to wear and tear. But there are some easy steps that you can take to ensure that you get the longest use out of your solar PV array.

ensure you get the longest use out of your solar PV array

Buy High Quality Equipment

This should go without saying, but having the highest quality equipment for your solar PV array, the panels, inverter, and more, will end up with it lasting longer than if you go for cheaper products. This is an extremely long-term investment in your property, it’s worth splashing out.

Choose a Reputable Installer

When installing solar panels it is essential to ensure that you go to a reputable and qualified contractor. Badly mounted and wired solar panels may degrade quicker than if they were put in properly. Poor handling during installation can also case damage to the solar panel housing, which is not designed to flex.

Having a good contractor for solar panel installation can also come with a workmanship warranty. This means that if issues arise from the installation, it won’t cost you to have them repaired.

Keep Your Solar Panels Clean

When your solar panels get covered in dirt and grit it not only reduces their efficiency, it can also result in them getting incurring micro scratches. Too much of this can see them damaged or broken. Regular cleaning of solar panels is valuable for their performance and health.

Online Solar Assessment

Speak with a member of our team and determine the type of solar that best suits your situation

  • Fill in the solar assessment

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Solar Panel Monitoring

If something does go wrong with one or more panels in a solar PV array, it is better to know sooner rather than later to address the problem before it gets worse.

Solar monitoring systems can give an indication if something is wrong by monitoring the output of your solar panels. Systems with microinverters fitted to each panel can tell you the health of each individual panel.

Maintenance

Solar panels don’t require much maintenance to keep running but it worth having them inspected by a reputable installer on occasion can catch problems like damage to the mounting racks, exposed or damaged wiring, or other problems with the solar PV array. Having this done by a professional rather than yourself can also avoid potentially voiding the warranty if you were to damage something.

Protection from the Elements

As solar panels are designed by nature to be exposed to the air, they are at the mercy of the elements, which can potentially result in damage. With this in mind, solar panels are generally tested against a wide range of environmental effects and extreme weather events such as high temperatures, hailstones, corrosion from salt mist or ammonia, and more.

When choosing solar panels, keep your own local environment in mind and think about what sort of conditions they will be exposed to. There are different weather effects by the seaside compared with living in an area known for extreme heat.

Check the product specifications when picking out solar panels. These will tell you how they have been tested and certified against weather that could damage them over time.

solar energy in Ireland

Solar Panels Warranties

The standard warranty period for solar panels offered by most manufacturers is 25 years, which typically states that they will be free of defects after this period. Check the Product Warranty carefully as in some cases there may be conditions on just who is allowed to carry out maintenance and repairs on your solar panels without voiding it.

On top of the basic Product Warranty solar panels often come with an additional Power Output Warranty. This guarantees that the solar panels will still be performing at a specified level of efficiency at the end of a 25 year period.

7 Years

A typical solar installation is fully paid back within 7 years. All solar panels we recommend are under warranty for 25 years, so you will enjoy at least 17 years of free energy generation.

0% VAT

As of 10 May 2023, the government has removed all VAT on solar installation and solar panel supply. This means solar has never been more affordable!

Government Grants

There is a range of government grants available for all new solar installations. Our team will guide you through the application process.

Other Solar PV System Equipment

Your solar panels are not the only elements of the full photovoltaic system. To complete the system you also require a solar power inverter, or multiple microinverters, and many people are now also getting a solar battery installed as part of their array. This allows them to store power when output is at its peak.

These are likely to have shorter lifespans than the solar panels themselves, and may have to be replaced at some point while your panels are still operational.

Solar panels work by converting the sun's energy into electricity

Solar System Components

Solar panels are not the only elements in your solar PV system. Other components such as the inverter and a battery system, if you have one, will have different lifespans than the solar panels.

The solar inverter is an essential part of any PV system, without which it cannot operate. The inverter takes the DC electricity made by a solar panel and converts it into AC electricity which can be used in your house.

As they have more electrical components, inverters are more susceptible to faults and overheating than solar panels. 

There are two main types of solar inverters. String Inverters, which are connected at the end of the line of all the panels in the solar system, and Microinverters, which are placed on each solar panel.

Lower-cost string inverters will not last as long as microinverters, as they are forced to do more work for the entire solar system, and modern products are typically cheaper and lower quality.

  • String Inverters: 10 – 15 year lifespan
  • Microinverters: 20 – 25 year lifespan

This means that a string inverter will have to be replaced at least once in the expected lifespan of your solar panel system, while microinverters should last as long as they do.

The lifespan of a solar battery is not as measured in years as easily as you would with solar panels or inverters. How long solar batteries last is entirely dependent on how heavily they are used.

Solar batteries can last anywhere from 5 – 15 years depending on the quality of the battery you purchase

Over time and use solar batteries will degrade so that they no longer retain as much power as they did when first purchased. This is measured by their cycle life, how many times the battery can be drained and charged

Solar Battery Manufacturer Battery Warranty Power Retention at End of Warranty
Panasonic Evervolt 12-years 70% 
SolarEdge Home Battery 10-years 70%
Tesla Powerwall 10-years 80%
LG ESS 16H 10-years 70%
BYD HVS Battery Box 10-years 60%

FAQs

Yes, there are plenty of grants for solar panels available for homeowners and businesses converting to renewable energy Ireland. The most basic grant scheme from the SEAI offers up to €2,100 to help homeowners install solar panels, and now up to €162,000 for businesses.

Yes, despite what fears people might have about the climate here not being suitable, solar panels can easily produce up to 40% of a household’s electricity requirements. That’s without the additional investment in a battery. This makes solar power worth it as an investment in Ireland.

Yes, if your solar panels are producing more electricity than you use, you can sell that surplus electricity back to the grid, helping you to save more money on your electricity bills, and earning up to €400 a year tax-free.

Learn more about solar panels today!

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