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The 25 to 30 year lifespan of a solar panel is significantly longer than its “energy payback time,” or EPBT. EPBT is the amount of time it takes for a solar panel to produce enough clean electricity to “pay back” the energy that was used to manufacture it in the first place.

Crystalline panels last longer than thin film (see solar shingles and Different Types of Solar Panels ), and will produce energy longer. Crystalline panels often have warranties for around 25 years. Since solar panels don’t have moving parts, they have less wear...

The Results Are In! It was originally thought that solar panels only operate efficiently2 for as long as the standard solar warranty of 20-25 years. The good news is that we are finding most solar systems are outperforming all expectations.

We used to think solar panels only lasted as long as their warranties (typically 25 years). Entities like The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), told us that solar panels lost about 1% of their annual output each year, and we listened…because they’re NREL.

The average inverter warranty ranges from 10 to 15 years, and unlike solar panels, will not just slowly get more inefficient, but will instead just quit working. However, while that’s usually the case with a central inverter (which handles the output of all the panels), a newer type, the so-called ‘micro-inverters’,...

These solar panels still usually come with a 25 year warranty but usually they are only warranted to produce at 80% of their maximum rated output after 10 years. I don't think anyone really knows how long these solar panels will last in real life and many manufacturers of this type of panels have already stopped making them.

For example, there is a Kyocera solar panel system in Japan that has been continuously operating since its original installation in 1984 – that’s over 30 years ago! One homeowner tested his solar panel from 1980 and found that, after being on his roof for 30 years, the panel was still performing to factory specs.

The simple answer to this question is that your typical solar cell is guaranteed to provide more than 80% of its rated power for 25 years; however, there is enough evidence to indicate that today’s solar panels could last double or triple this amount of time.

Average Degradation Rates. According to a Photovoltaic Degradation Rates Study published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the mean average degradation rate for solar panels is 0.8% per year (25 years to 80%), with the median falling to 0.5%, and 78% of all installations examined showing less than 1%.

How long do modern solar panels last? How long you can expect your solar panels to last is an obvious concern when contemplating a large investment. As a general rule of thumb, your solar panels should last at least 25 to 30 years, based on manufacturer testing.

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