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Do Solar Panels Outlast Their Warranties?

Jessica PirroNovember 11, 20195800

Will Solar Panels Outlast Their Warranties?

Solar panel installations can be a big investment, and with any big investment, you are going to want to make sure that you have some sort of warranty on the solar-powered system.

If you invest in a new car you are going to not only want to ensure that your car has some sort of new car warranty, but you are also going to want to make sure that your car will outlast that new car warranty. The same goes for solar panels.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels typically have warranties from anywhere between 10-25 years, and some solar panels will have warranties that will have 30-year warranties. The typical lifespan of a solar panel is considered 25 years, after 25 years the solar panels still work, the efficiency of a solar panel is going to be lower.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found in a study that was done in 2012, the average output of solar panels is going to drop by 0.8% each year. This decline in solar energy production we referred to as the degradation rate of solar panels.

The rate that the solar panels decline varies based on whichever brand you buy. But, because of the technology of solar panels is advancing, the rate that the solar panels are degrading at is improving as well.

Since the study was done there have been a lot of technological improvements and 78% of the newer solar panels have cut their degradation rates to 0.5% yearly.

During the 25 year warranty, solar panels are expected to maintain at least 80% of their rated energy output. The warranty of the solar panels if the manufacturer’s guarantee that the solar panels are going to operate at their exact or near their peak efficiency of a solar panel level for 25 years.

This warranty insinuates that at the end of its 25-year warranty, a 300-watt solar panel should still be producing at the very least 240 watts.

What is a Solar Panel Warranty?

Like other investments, there’s going to be a couple of different kinds of solar power warranties. Solar panels have two different warranties, there are performance-based warranties for solar panels and equipment based guarantees for solar panels. The performance-based warranties for solar panels are typically going to guarantee 90% production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years. An equipment warranty is normally going to guarantee 10-12 years without failing.

The product warranty insurance for solar panels is going to cover the integrity of the solar panels themselves and will protect you against problems such as manufacturing defects, environmental issues, and premature wear and tear. As with most warranties, longer periods are typically going to be more advantageous to you, if you are the owner of a solar-powered system. When evaluating the different kinds of warranties of solar panels and their manufacturers, two of the most important factors that you should be focusing on, are the product/materials warranty.

The Workmanship Warranty

This is also a separate warranty that is going to be offered by the solar panel manufacturer is going to be called a workmanship warranty. The solar panel installation warranty covers all manufacturer errors, usually faulty junction boxes or frames.

The typical workmanship warranty is going to be a 10-year warranty but some manufacturers are going to offer a workmanship warranty of up to 20 years.

These warranties are good news for those who are concerned at their return on the investment in their solar-powered system.

There is no guarantee that the solar panels will last longer than their warranty, but that is not the case for most solar panels. Because there aren’t any moving parts to solar panels, the lifespan of solar panels is usually quite reliable.

Can You Make Solar Panels Last Longer?

Most of the manufacturers of solar panels are going to test the solar panels to ensure that they can withstand real-world conditions like high winds and a lot of snowfall, without breaking. They are also tested to make sure that they can handle hail storms without breaking.

But because solar-powered systems don’t have any moving parts, they are low maintenance, therefore the best thing that you can do to make sure that the solar panels and solar energy inverters to cover defects and damages that are caused by the environment.

If your solar panel installation is well maintained it can help lower the degradation rate and it will help your solar-powered system last longer and the efficiency of a solar panel will be higher for longer periods.

You can make your solar panels last longer by;

Getting Your Solar Panel Checked Regularly

Having your solar installer come out and do regular examinations of your solar panel installation is the best way to ensure that your solar-powered system lasts a long time. By examining the solar-powered system, it can reveal any potential problems that your solar panel installation mat has such loose racking or exposed wires, which will then put the solar panels themselves in danger.

The reason that it is so important to have your solar installer come out and check on your solar-powered system is because of the warranty. If you inspect your solar panels and find an issue that you attempt to fix it yourself and end up damaging the solar panels, you could void the warranty of the solar panels.

When the solar installer is inspecting the roof they are also checking on the other solar power equipment, especially the solar power inverters and the racking.

Solar power inverters are usually going to last 10 to 15 years and will need to be replaced at some point during the lifespan of the solar panels. Unless you have a microinverter, the life span of the solar panels and the lifetime of a microinverter is typically going to be the same.

When the solar installer checks the racking they will want to make sure that everything is in place and that nothing is loose. If the racking is loose, there’s a rather large risk that the solar panels will move around or fall off the racking.

Keep Your Solar Panels Clear of Damaging Materials

When the solar installer comes out to asses your property for your solar panels, they are going to make sure that there aren’t any trees that could potentially shade your solar-powered system, or its branches fall and damage it.

By making sure that your solar panels stay debris-free you are helping your solar panel installation stay damage-free. If you can avoid physical damages being done to your solar panels, you can help extend the solar panels' lives well past 25 years.

Solar panels can outlast their warranties as long as you are properly taking care of them. You should make sure that you hire a reputable solar installer and schedule regular inspections with them and keep your solar panels clean of debris to make sure the solar panels outlast their warranty.

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