How Long Do Solar Panels Last? Solar Panel Lifespan

How Long Do Solar Panels Last? Solar Panel Lifespan

renogys blog Jun 12th 2024

Investing in solar panels is a significant step towards sustainable living, but a common question arises: how long do solar panels last? Understanding the solar panel lifespan is essential for maximizing your investment and planning for the future. On average, the industry standard for the lifespan of solar panels is 25-30 years, though their performance gradually declines over time.

In this guide, we'll explore the lifespan of solar panels, how their efficiency declines over time, and which types offer the longest durability. We'll also discuss factors affecting their lifespan and tips for maintenance and longevity. Whether you're a homeowner or a business owner, this article offers valuable insights to optimize your solar energy investment.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels typically last 25 to 30 years, with most warranties guaranteeing 80% efficiency over 25 years. The lifespan of the solar panels means that the output of the panel will decrease a significant amount below the standard the manufacturer projected after years of use, which the solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average American family's energy requirements. Made from durable materials like tempered glass and silicon, they withstand harsh conditions. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure efficiency.

Solar Panel Degradation Rate

renogy solar panel warranty

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has conducted long-term studies on solar panel degradation rates. Their research shows that after 25 years of use, most solar panels still produce between 80-90% of their original rated outputs. Top-tier monocrystalline panels can retain up to 92% of their generation capacity after two decades.

While degradation is inevitable as panels age, premium equipment from reputable brands tends to degrade at much slower annual rates of 0.3-0.8%. Lower quality or older technologies may see a more rapid 1% annual decline. At these rates, most installed solar arrays continue producing sufficient energy for 30-40 years before replacement is recommended.

In the next section, we'll explore which solar panel types and manufacturers offer the longest-lasting, most degradation-resistant options on the market today.

Which Solar Panels Last Longest

High-quality solar panels, categorized as Tier One, generally have longer lifespans compared to cheaper options. BNEF's rating system divides solar panels into tiers: Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three, with Tier One being the highest quality.

Two common types of Tier One solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels typically offer higher efficiency and power output, albeit at a higher cost. In contrast, polycrystalline panels are more cost-effective but tend to have lower efficiency and output. Monocrystalline panels are generally considered higher-quality due to their better efficiency and lower degradation rates over time compared to polycrystalline panels.

Factors That Impact Solar Panel Lifespan

While most solar panels are designed to last more than 25 years, their actual lifespan depends on several factors. Understanding these factors is crucial to maximizing the performance and longevity of your solar panel system. Here are some key elements that can impact how long your solar panels last:

Solar Panel Quality

Not all solar panels are created equal. Top-tier manufacturers use higher-quality materials and more stringent quality control processes, resulting in panels that are better equipped to withstand harsh environmental conditions and maintain their efficiency over time. Investing in high-quality solar panels from reputable brands like Renogy can significantly extend their lifespan. Renogy is known for its rigorous testing and manufacturing standards, ensuring that their solar panels are built to last.

Environmental Conditions

Solar panels are exposed to various environmental factors that can accelerate their degradation rate. Extreme temperatures, high humidity, strong winds, and exposure to salt air (for coastal installations) can all take a toll on the panels' components. Proper installation and maintenance can help mitigate these environmental impacts.

Physical Damage

Physical damage from hail, falling debris, or mishandling during installation can crack or shatter solar panels, rendering them ineffective or reducing their lifespan. Choosing panels with sturdy frames and impact-resistant materials can help prevent physical damage.

Inverter and Electrical System

While solar panels themselves have a long lifespan, the inverters and other electrical components of the system may need to be replaced more frequently. Choosing high-quality components and maintaining them properly can ensure optimal system performance and longevity.

By considering these factors and taking appropriate measures, you can maximize the lifespan of your solar panels and ensure a reliable and cost-effective solar energy system for years to come.

How to Make Solar Panels Last Longer

While solar panels are designed to be durable and long-lasting, there are several steps you can take to ensure they perform at their best for as long as possible. By following these tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your solar panel system and get the most out of your investment.

Choose a Reputable Solar Installer and Equipment

Selecting a reputable and experienced solar installer is crucial for ensuring the longevity of your solar panels. Look for companies with a proven track record and positive customer reviews. They should follow best practices and adhere to local codes and regulations. Additionally, invest in high-quality solar panels from reputable manufacturers known for their durability and performance.

Clean Your Solar Panels

Clean Your Solar Panels

Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining the efficiency of your solar panels. Accumulated dirt, dust, bird droppings, or snow can significantly reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the panels, decreasing their energy production. Establish a cleaning schedule and use appropriate cleaning methods to avoid damaging the panels.

Schedule Maintenance Checks and Panel Repairs

Schedule Maintenance Checks and Panel Repairs

Preventative maintenance and timely repairs can go a long way in extending the lifespan of your solar panel system. Schedule regular check-ups with a professional solar technician to inspect the panels, electrical components, and mounting systems. Address any issues or necessary repairs promptly to prevent further damage and ensure optimal performance.

Protect Your Solar Panels from Damage

Physical damage, such as cracks or scratches, can significantly impact the performance and lifespan of your solar panels. Take measures to protect your panels from potential sources of harm, such as falling branches or debris. Consider investing in panels with impact-resistant glass or frames for added protection, and ensure they are installed in a secure location.

By following these tips and taking a proactive approach to maintenance, monitoring, and protection, you can help ensure that your solar panels continue to perform at their best for many years to come, maximizing your return on investment and reducing the need for premature replacements.


How long do solar panels last? With proper installation and maintenance, most quality solar panels can reliably produce energy for 25 years or more. Understanding factors like manufacturing quality, environment, and system care is key to maximizing longevity. By investing in durable panels from branding like Renogy, choosing the right location, and implementing effective maintenance practices, homeowners and businesses ensure decades of clean, renewable power. As technology improves, solar panel lifespans will only increase further. With their long-lasting performance and potential savings over time, solar is a wise investment for a sustainable future. Embrace solar energy's lasting advantages for decades to come.


What Are the Best Solar Panels?

The best solar panels often include brands like SunPower, LG, and Panasonic due to their high efficiency and durability. Monocrystalline panels are known for their efficiency, while polycrystalline panels offer a more budget-friendly option. Choosing the best panel depends on your budget, energy needs, and installation location.

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Yes, solar panels are worth it. They offer long-term savings on electricity bills, increase home value, and reduce carbon footprint. With falling installation costs and government incentives, solar panels provide a reliable and sustainable energy solution for homeowners and businesses alike.

What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?

Solar panels reduce electricity bills by generating free, renewable energy from the sun. They require minimal maintenance, help combat greenhouse gas emissions, and offer energy independence. Additionally, solar panels contribute to a cleaner environment and can increase property value.