How Long Do Solar Panels Last And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 30th, 2023

You’ve heard the buzz about solar energy being a renewable, eco-friendly alternative to conventional power sources. But how long do solar panels actually last? The short answer is around 25 years, but there’s much more to the story. Here, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to the lifespan of a solar panel, their rate of degradation, and some best practices for extending their life.

What Makes Solar Panels Sustainable?

Solar panels, or photovoltaic modules, convert sunlight into electricity, offering a green solution to energy production. Compared to conventional generators that contribute to pollution and climate change, solar panels stand out as a sustainable choice.

man in white dress shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on white and black solar panel

The primary advantage is their minimal environmental impact. They don’t produce waste, nor do they emit harmful greenhouse gases. With the sun providing an abundant, renewable source of energy, solar panels are poised to meet humanity’s electricity needs in a cleaner, more efficient manner.

The Inevitable Aging of Solar Panels

Like any piece of technology, solar panels aren’t immune to wear and tear. They experience a gradual decline in power output over time, known as the “degradation rate.”

Understanding the Degradation Rate

The average degradation rate for solar panels is approximately 0.5% per year. This means that after 20 years, a well-maintained panel will still be operating at about 90% of its initial capacity.

However, various factors can influence this rate, including temperature fluctuations and the chemical composition within the panel itself. Different brands also have varying rates of degradation, with higher-end manufacturers like Panasonic and LG offering panels that degrade as slowly as 0.3% per year.

What Is the Lifespan of Solar Panels?

Number Of Years Efficiency  
25 years  85%  
30 years 75% and depreciating  

What Affects the Longevity of Solar Panels?

Several elements can influence how long a solar panel lasts and its overall performance. Let’s look at some of them:

Quality of Materials

As with any product, the quality of the materials used in solar panels affects their lifespan. Opting for higher-end panels might seem more expensive initially, but it can pay off in the long run by extending the life of your solar energy system.

Mounting Position

The angle and orientation of your solar panels can significantly impact their efficiency. South-facing panels tend to receive the most sunlight throughout the day, optimizing energy production.

Climate and Temperature

Extreme weather conditions, such as hail, heavy rain, and temperature fluctuations, can accelerate the degradation of solar panels. Be sure to consider your local climate when planning your solar installation.


Proper maintenance can prolong the life of your solar panels. Routine cleaning and inspections can prevent dust and debris from affecting their performance.

When Should You Upgrade Your Solar Panels?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for when to replace your solar panels. The key indicator is their performance. If you notice a significant decrease in energy output or a rise in your electricity bill, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Solar Panels

  • Choose a Reliable Manufacturer: Quality craftsmanship ensures better resistance to environmental factors.
  • Maximize Sun Exposure: Trim any tree branches or remove obstacles that might cast shadows on the panels.
  • Regular Cleaning: Dust and grime can reduce the efficiency of your solar panels. Regular cleaning will help maintain their performance.


Unlike other power sources that require frequent maintenance, such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that need battery replacements every 3 to 5 years, solar panels are relatively hassle-free. Their batteries may need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, but overall, they represent a long-term, sustainable investment.

So, if you’re contemplating a switch to solar energy, rest assured it’s a commitment that will not only benefit the planet but also remain dependable for decades.


Editorial Staff

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