If you’re planning to install solar panels, you should follow some tips to extend their life. Solar panels don’t last forever. Some of them will lose about 0.5% to 0.8% of their output per year. Eventually, solar panels may fail to generate a sufficient amount of electricity. There are several things you can do, though, to make your solar panels last longer.
#1) Choose the Right Type
Some solar panels are better protected against time-related degradation than others. Crystalline solar panels, for instance, typically last longer than thin-film solar panels. There are monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. Monocrystalline solar panels are made of a single silicon crystal, whereas polycrystalline solar panels are made of multiple silicon crystals. Whether monocrystalline or polycrystalline, all crystalline solar panels last longer than thin-film solar panels.
#2) Clean Regularly
Don’t forget to clean your solar panels. Solar panels will inevitably accumulate dirt. You can mount them on a roof or the ground. Regardless, they’ll gather dirt and debris, which can shorten their lifespan — as well as their output — if left unchecked.
Most solar panels should be cleaned once every 6 to 12 months. Assuming you can easily access them, you can clean your solar panels yourself. If you’re unable to access them, conversely, you can hire a professional to clean them. Many solar panel installation companies offer cleaning services.
#3) Inspect Junction Box
You should inspect the junction box as well. Junction boxes are enclosures that contain various electrical components. Most of them feature solar modules as well as charge controllers. They are typically found on the back of solar panels. When inspecting the underside of the solar backsheet, you should notice the junction box. If any of the electrical contacts in the junction box fail, it may shorten the lifespan of your solar panels.
#4) Prune Overhanging Branches
If there are any tree branches hanging over your solar panels, you should prune them. Fallen branches can damage solar panels. It can cause the crystalline material from which a solar panel is made to crack. After a solar panel has cracked, it may fail to convert sunlight into electricity.
#5) Use a High-Quality Mounting System
The mounting system will affect the life of your solar panels. Using a cheap, low-quality mounting system will result in a shorter lifespan. It will leave your solar panels susceptible to degradation. To make them last longer, invest in a high-quality mounting system that’s able to withstand environmental conditions.