Solar panels are designed to last for 20 to 30 years, and most suppliers offer a 20-year warranty on their products. To determine if your solar panel is still performing optimally, you can measure its performance and compare it to the panel's nominal rating and the specifications listed. It is recommended to do it at noon on a sunny day of 25 degrees for the best result. If you can see the current and voltage displays, use these numbers to see the panel's performance.
Otherwise, use a multimeter to measure energy production. When measuring, make sure that the multimeter is set to a scale of at least 10 amps. This will prevent the meter from being damaged in the event of a power surge. A study conducted by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that solar panel production is likely to decline by 0.5% per year. This is known as the degradation rate.
This means that in the 20th year of use, the module will continue to produce approximately 90% of the electricity it produced in the first year. Anything lower than this indicates that your system is crashing. If your 20-year solar panel's power output is noticeably lower than the specifications listed, it's most likely time to replace it. The energy production of your decades-old solar panels may also not be enough to meet your current needs. It may not be possible to upgrade your old system because modern 60-cell panels are not compatible with older 72-cell models. Cracks or small fractures, caused by extreme temperature changes, hailstorms, or impacts, can be signs of deterioration.
Incorrect handling, especially during installation, can also cause these cracks. Depending on its severity, the fracture can reduce your solar panel's energy production by at least 2.5 percent. The average degradation of the efficiency of solar panels is 0.5% per year. That means your new set of solar panels can operate at 90% efficiency after ten years. Most manufacturers sell their solar panels with a 25-year guarantee of 80% efficiency.
Here, the magic number is 80%, that's the level of efficiency you should expect from your solar panels. Anything less than that should indicate a possible need to repair a solar panel. But that's a concern for the future. The fact is that their solar panels are made of durable materials. Real solar cells are only 200 to 500 μm thick.
That might give you the impression that they are flimsy. However, if you purchased solar panels from a reliable supplier, you will receive them protected by tempered glass with a metal frame, making them stronger and more reliable even when exposed to the elements. Solar panels are designed to withstand a variety of weather conditions, including winds of more than 225 km/h. Your solar panels could even provide additional protection to your roof - unless a violent typhoon hits your area. Another factor affecting the durability of solar panels is maintenance. Keeping them clean increases efficiency from 21% to 30%.
Most often, it will be enough to wash them with water. A thorough cleaning is necessary if you are in an area prone to contamination, which could throw more dirt on the surface of the panels. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's cleaning manual. This can reduce power output by at least 2.5%.
Cracks are generally caused by improper handling and installation, temperature variations, and severe weather conditions. For maximum system efficiency, don't neglect these signs of physical degradation. Your system is likely to operate for more than 20 years. Once you reach that mark, it's wise to be more aware of system errors. Regularly scheduled maintenance can be of utmost importance. Loose solder connections are typical problems with solar panel installations.
The same goes for other wiring problems, such as rust and corrosion. If the cell power turns on and off when you touch the panel, the cabling could be the culprit. This could come from a variety of sources, such as bird droppings and foliage. An easy solution to this is to clean the solar panels with a hose to remove dirt. If it cannot be washed, waste can be safely removed by professionals - you can cause more damage to your panels if you do it yourself and have an unfortunate accident. This is one of the most obvious signs that your solar panel system requires repair or replacement.
Common triggers for unexpected shutdowns include manufacturing defects, faulty installation, and wiring problems. Solar panels are usually replaced when they are damaged or stop working effectively - this can usually be rounded up to approximately every 25 years - however, this replacement window can be minimized if there are major defects or damage. If you've noticed any common defects in solar panels affecting your system, replacing a few individual parts might be your best bet - while solar panels last 25 to 30 years on average - with an older system some defects, general wear and tear or an age-related drop in electricity production are possible. Our in-house electrical engineers, level 2 electricians and accredited installers are at your service - they are available for consultation and can offer complete solutions to suit your needs - contact us today to find out how affordable solar PV installation can be or leave your contact details and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.