Many homeowners are excited about investing in a solar energy system for their home. From saving money on their monthly utility bills to contributing to the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases and protecting the environment, there are many benefits of having a solar power system installed at your residence.
However, installing a complete, modern solar power system that lasts for several decades is not as simple as it sounds. In order to make sure your investment will last and keep generating electricity through future seasons and years, you need to take some important considerations before proceeding with the installation process.
Solar panel durability is an important factor when evaluating whether or not your home is suitable for a solar power system installation. After all, you do not want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on an energy-efficient home improvement only for it to become useless after just a few short years.
Fortunately, most durable solar panel brands have detailed information regarding how long their products last and what factors are known to contribute to shorter product lifespans.
What Is Durability Testing?
Solar panels are made from man-made polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) wafers. These wafers are rolled thin and then cut into rectangular-shaped panels. Polysilicon is a material that is primarily used in the semiconductor industry, and it also makes up the basis of some lithium-ion battery cells.
It is a very brittle material that is also highly susceptible to damage from ultra-violet light and moisture. Polysilicon panel durability is largely determined by the amount of ultraviolet light that penetrates the panels during the manufacturing process.
When solar panel manufacturers test their polysilicon samples to ensure they withstand the amount of ultraviolet light that can be potentially emitted by a sunny day, they use a device called an ultraviolet light source. The polysilicon samples are placed inside the ultraviolet light source, and then they are observed for a given amount of time. This is the polysilicon panel durability testing method.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
After being installed onto the roof of your home, your solar panels should be able to provide electricity for at least 25 years. However, there are several factors that can negatively affect the life of your solar panels, and these include improper installation, excessive exposure to rain, snow, and wind, and also overheating and excessive panel strain from the sun’s rays.
Aside from these, there are also certain components inside your solar panels that can degrade as they age. This includes the polysilicon, the solder joints, the wiring, and the solder.
Knowing how long your solar panels will last is very important to homeowners who are considering a solar power system. Because your solar panels will likely need to be replaced at some point, it is important to know how long they will last.
Factors That Influence Solar Panel Durability
– Geography – Location is key in determining which solar panel brands will likely have a long lifespan in your area. If you live in a very sunny area that sees high amounts of ultraviolet light, the lifespan of your solar panels is likely to be shorter. Also, if you live in a very humid area or if you have a lot of snow or heavy rains, your panels may be at risk of damage from these weather conditions.
– Roof Type – The type of roof you install your solar panels on also significantly affects their lifespan. If you live in a very hot or very dry area, your panels are likely to last significantly shorter than if you live in a milder region. – Installation – Installation errors can significantly shorten the lifespan of your solar panels. If you do not properly align your panels, or if you mount them improperly, they are likely to experience strain. Strain occurs when there are uneven forces on your solar panels, and this is more likely to happen if you mount your panels too low.
– Weathering – Weathering is the natural process by which solar panels gradually become less efficient over time. This is primarily caused by the panel material degrading, and it is likely to happen more quickly on polysilicon panels.
– Panel Testing and Inspection – The best way to ensure your solar panels are durable and will last for many decades is to conduct standard inspection and testing procedures. This is necessary to make sure your panels are performing optimally and that there is no damage or potential defect that could shorten their lifespan.
How to Test Solar Panel Durability
Even though polysilicon panel durability is largely determined by the amount of ultraviolet light that is able to penetrate the material, the panel’s overall performance is generally tested at the installation level. However, you can also test your solar panels for durability at the component level to make sure there are no issues with the panel material, the wiring, or the connections.
To conduct panel durability testing at the component level, you need to find a high-quality tool designed to test solar panel durability. These panels-specific models are ideal for testing solar panel performance, and they typically come with a wide array of testing capabilities. A good model should have the ability to test the panel’s ability to absorb and produce electricity, as well as to ensure there are no issues with the components inside the panel.
How to Tell If a Solar Panel Is Defective or Not
If you want to know if your solar panel is performing at an optimal level, you can conduct a durability test at the component level. You can then use the results to determine if your solar panel is performing at an abnormal level, or if there is something defective with the component itself.
If you want to conduct a durability test at the component level, you need to make sure your solar panel is mounted securely so that it does not experience any strain. Next, you need to ensure the panel is positioned in the direct path of the sun so that it receives optimal amounts of ultraviolet light. After this, you can start testing your solar panel’s performance.
Durable solar panels are an important consideration before investing in a solar power system. These panels have a lifespan that is typically between 25 and 30 years, but they can easily be damaged by excessive ultraviolet light, excessive temperature, improper installation, and also by defective products. Therefore, it is important to know how long your solar panels will last and perform properly before making the investment.