Degradation Rates: What Homeowners Need to Know
As a solar installer, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing the incredible transformation that solar energy has brought to countless homes. Installing solar panels is not just about reducing electricity bills and environmental impact; it’s an investment in the future. However, like any investment, it’s crucial for homeowners to understand the factors that can influence its long-term performance. One of the key aspects often discussed in the solar industry is degradation rates – the gradual decline in a solar panel’s efficiency over time. In this blog post, we’ll explore what degradation rates mean, what homeowners can expect throughout the life of their solar system, and how to maximize the lifespan and performance of their solar panels.
What is Degradation?
Solar panel degradation is the gradual reduction in the efficiency of a solar panel over its operational life. It’s a natural process influenced by various factors, such as exposure to environmental conditions, temperature fluctuations, and the inherent characteristics of the materials used in solar panels. Every panel on the market has a degradation rate. While some level of degradation is inevitable, modern solar panels are designed to minimize this effect and ensure a long and productive lifespan.
Understanding Degradation Rates
The degradation rate is expressed as a percentage per year and indicates the average annual decline in a solar panel’s efficiency. The industry standard for degradation rates is typically between 0.5% and 2% per year, with most high-quality solar panels having rates at the lower end of this range.
For example, a solar panels we use here at Klick Solar all have less than a 5.% degradation rate per year. Our warranties ensure that at the end of year 25-30, your solar panels will be creating 82-86% of what they were making on day 1. It’s important to note that this is a simplified representation, and actual degradation may vary based on several factors.
Factors Influencing Degradation
- Temperature: High temperatures can accelerate the degradation of solar panels. While solar panels thrive on sunlight, excessive heat can negatively impact their efficiency. Quality solar panels are designed to withstand temperature variations, but extreme and prolonged exposure to high temperatures can still contribute to degradation.
- Environmental Conditions: Solar panels are exposed to a range of environmental conditions, including rain, hail, and UV radiation. While they are built to withstand these elements, long-term exposure can lead to wear and tear, impacting the performance of the panels over time.
- Manufacturing Quality: The manufacturing quality of solar panels plays a crucial role in determining their degradation rates. High-quality panels are built with durable materials and undergo rigorous testing to ensure longevity. Investing in reputable brands and understanding the manufacturing processes can significantly influence the long-term performance of solar panels. At Klick, we only work with the biggest, baddest manufacturers out there. All of our panels are Tier 1 products. For more information on the equipment we use, check out our Products and Installation page here.
What Homeowners Can Expect
- Stable Performance: In our experience as solar installers, typically we don’t see degradation taking effect until a few years after the system has started producing electricity. After that, solar panels typically exhibit a stable degradation rate. High-quality panels can maintain efficiency levels close to their rated capacity for an extended period. It’s not uncommon for well-maintained solar panels to operate at 80-90% efficiency even after 25 years. Here at Klick, we believe in supplying the best of the best to all of our homeowners, so the panels we source are backed by 25-30 year production guarantees to ensure that our clients’ systems are producing 80% at minimum after that time frame.
- Long-Term Investment: Despite the gradual decline in efficiency, solar panels remain a sound long-term investment. The cost savings from generating your own electricity and potential incentives can far outweigh the initial investment.
Maximizing Solar Panel Lifespan
- Regular Maintenance: Routine maintenance is essential for maximizing the lifespan of solar panels. Our solar systems are designed to require minimal maintenance, but we do advise that you hop on your monitoring app periodically to ensure that everything is working as expected. If you need any help servicing your solar system, be sure to give us a call.
- Optimal Installation: Proper installation is critical for the performance and longevity of solar panels. Ensuring they are correctly positioned, securely mounted, and connected to an efficient inverter system can significantly impact their overall efficiency and reduce the risk of degradation. At Klick, we do all of our own installations, so you know you’re working with the best of the best. For more information on our installations, check out our Products and Installation Page here.
- Invest in Quality: While high-quality solar panels may have a higher upfront cost, they often prove to be a wise investment over time. Investing in reputable brands with a track record of reliability and durability can minimize the risk of premature degradation and ensure consistent performance.
As a solar installer, our goal is to empower homeowners with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their solar investments. Understanding degradation rates, the factors influencing them, and what to expect over the lifespan of a solar system is crucial for maximizing the benefits of solar energy. While some level of degradation is inevitable, proactive maintenance, optimal installation, and investing in quality panels can help homeowners enjoy the economic and environmental advantages of solar power for decades to come. By embracing solar energy, we not only contribute to a sustainable future but also harness the power of the sun to create a cleaner and more resilient energy landscape.