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What is The Lifespan of a Commercial Solar System?

Commercial solar panels, installed on buildings, create electricity using several solar arrays that power the entire building. 

This is called end-of-life management, when panels and their parts are no longer usable. The good news is that commercial solar panels usually last a long time. 

Typically, they work well for about 25 years before they start to wear out. The quality of the panel can affect how long it lasts. 

Few solar panels are being thrown away, but more will get old and stop working in the next few decades. 

Usually, it takes about 6 to 10 years for the savings from the solar panels to cover their cost. 

These panels could save you a lot of money over their lifetime, which can be 25 years or more, especially if they keep working well after they’ve paid for themselves.

What Are Commercial Solar Panels?

Commercial solar panels comprise many photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert sunlight into electricity. Each PV panel has lots of solar cells made from silicon. 

These cells have a positive and a negative layer, creating an electric field. When these cells are put together, they make a solar panel. 

Linking several panels forms a solar array, and commercial solar systems use multiple arrays to generate more electricity. 

Commercial solar panels capture the sun’s clean, renewable energy and turn it into electricity for building use. The solar cells, which include silicon, phosphorous, and boron, are arranged in a grid pattern. 

The electricity they produce goes to an inverter, which changes the direct current (DC) from the panels into alternating current (AC), like the power from the electricity grid. 

Commercial inverters, ranging from 2.5 kW to 250 kW, are designed to suit different commercial needs.

Lifespan of a Commercial Solar System

Solar panels are an excellent renewable energy source but produce less electricity over time. This process is called degradation. 

Commercial solar panels become less efficient at converting sunlight to energy during degradation due to heat and a natural decrease in their chemical effectiveness. 

Research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that solar panels typically lose about 0.8% of their power yearly. 

However, some top-quality brands have panels that degrade more slowly, at about 0.3% per year, making them last longer. 

Therefore, when choosing solar panels, it is essential to consider their degradation rate. Most high-quality commercial solar panels degrade at around 0.5% per year.

After 25 years, you may notice that the panels do not produce as much energy as they used to, but they won’t stop working entirely. 

Note that the lifespan of your panels depends on their quality, and regular cleaning and maintenance can extend their life, allowing you to use solar power for many years.

As the power output of your panels decreases, your electricity bills may go up. When this happens, it may be time to replace the panels. 

With proper maintenance, your commercial solar panels can provide renewable energy for a long time, especially with the help of a solar battery. 

What Affects the Lifespan of Commerical Solar Panels?

External factors like extreme weather can affect the lifespan of solar panels. For example, strong winds can cause tree branches to fall on the panels, hail can scratch them, and heavy snow can weaken their structure. However, most solar panels are designed to withstand bad weather.

The quality of solar panels is also critical. Low-quality panels may have weaker frames and are more susceptible to damage. 

Although cheaper panels may save money initially, higher-quality panels are a better long-term investment. They last longer and produce more electricity over time.

However, even the best panels will only work well if installed correctly. A poor installation can make the panels less effective. 

If the installer overlooks issues such as an old or leaky roof, it could lead to complications later. Therefore, choosing a skilled and reputable contractor for installation is crucial.

A good contractor will ensure that the panels are mounted and wired correctly. Poor wiring or fitting can cause the panels to age faster. 

This means proper installation is essential to getting the best performance from your solar panels.

Final Thoughts

Commercial solar panels are designed to be long-lasting and can withstand harsh weather conditions such as strong winds, snow, and hail. Manufacturers’ thorough testing is to blame for this. 

These panels do not have moving parts, requiring minimal maintenance. You can determine when to replace them by monitoring their electricity output. 

When they no longer produce enough electricity to cover your bills, it’s time to consider new panels. 

Older models degrade faster than newer ones, so it’s essential to know their wear and plan for replacements in advance.

Using a tracker or app, you can monitor your panels’ electricity output and track their wear and tear. It’s also a good idea to start saving for new panels, even if your current ones are still functioning. 

Proper installation is critical to ensuring a long-lasting solar system. Be sure to choose a reliable installer with excellent service and a warranty. Investing in high-quality panels with strong warranties is also essential to protect your investment.

ECOfootprint Limited provides commercial solar panel installation services in Doncaster and Northern England.

We offer end-to-end solutions to help businesses get the most out of solar energy. Contact us for a consultation and take the first step towards a greener future for your business.

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