Using solar energy is a great way to provide clean, sustainable, and renewable power. For decades, it has been one of the efficient and growing trends. Given all the advantages it offers, everything shows it will continue to be so in the future. However, like most other things, solar panels don’t have an unlimited duration. Some materials expire, parts can stop working, and the system stops being so energy efficient. The approximate lifespan of these solar photovoltaic panels is about 25 years. After which, you might want to consider a suitable replacement. If you wonder what to do when your solar panels expire, there are a few viable options to consider.
Things you can do after solar panels expire
With proper maintenance of all the components, your solar equipment will last for decades. However, you will eventually need to consider alternative solutions once it reaches its end. On the other side, this doesn’t mean your panels will stop producing energy. In most cases, they won’t just suddenly stop working. If external factors do not physically damage them, they will still continue to produce energy. But, their energy production will deteriorate after long years of use. In that case, you should call your South Texas Solar Systems professionals to help you evaluate their condition and provide you with solutions.
How are solar panels working
Solar panels are made of various materials. In a large percentage, they contain glass, silicon, aluminum, and numerous conductive materials. Once exposed to the light, it starts the reaction within the silicon, and we get electric power. Since it’s an immediate activity, it provides electricity to your grid in an instant. We can then use batteries to store extra power for later use.
Why solar panels degrade
After years of usage, solar panels become less efficient in producing energy. This process, known as degradation, happens at different rates, depending on the quality of panels. Today, the average degradation rate is about 0.5% per year. This means that after 25 years, your solar panels will work at 87.5% efficiency. This is not too significant, but you should consider replacing your panels once it falls below 80% efficiency.
On the other side, there is a possibility your residential solar panels suffer physical damage due to extreme weather conditions. Intense cold, hail storms, severe temperature changes, and falling debris can eventually cause small cracks. While this is a rare occurrence, it’s also a potential situation to consult your Austin Solar Installers.
Steps you can take when your solar panels expire
Removing and storing your solar panels
If you notice your energy production is falling behind, it can mean something is not working right. The electrical power in your home might not be sufficient enough to sustain your household. And, you may also notice the increase in your monthly bills. If this happens, then it’s perhaps a time to replace your solar panels. If you are moving to a new home, you might want to take your solar system with you. Whatever the reason, you will need to remove your panels and other parts first, and you may need a place to store them for a bit. If you are moving, you should consider Professional Moving & Storage to keep your panels safe. But before you do that, always call your professional solar companies in Texas to take care of the removal. It’s delicate equipment and requires expertise to avoid any damage.
Replacing your solar panels
Depending on the situation, you will eventually have to replace your solar panels. After removal, damaged panels can be fixed. But if they are expired, you will have to replace your old solar panels with new, more efficient ones. Besides the situations when you will store your old panels, the course of action is to recycle them.
Solar panels recycling
Many companies are working on providing effective recycling procedures for solar panels. Even though some of the materials might be hazardous, a large percentage of materials can be reused. Whether your panels are thin-film or silicon-based type, there are industrial methods to extract valuable components. They can be completely torn apart, treated with chemicals or high temperatures in an effort to extract silicone and other semiconducting materials. So, after you use green solutions for storing stuff away while installing your new solar panels, consider visiting one of the recycling centers afterward.
Is it possible to extend the lifespan of your solar panels?
Overall, solar panels are exceptionally durable systems. Not only do they last longer, but they are made to withstand significant external factors like severe weather. One of the attributes that contribute to this durability is that they mostly don’t have any moving parts. However, to extend their lifespan, they do require some maintenance. The best way to ensure their durability is to have your solar panels maintained by certified industry experts. Another factor that can contribute to their durability is carefully considering the right system location. For example, if you are in an area with strong winds, don’t install them near trees. Branches may fall off and damage your solar panels.
Replacing other parts
Even though there is little chance you will have to repair your panels, some other parts of the system might need replacement after a while:
- Inverter – you might have to replace your inverter after 10 to 15 years. This is one particular part that is continuously working under high pressure to convert DC to AC. Even though it’s also durable, it will wear off faster than your solar panels will do.
- Racking system – depending on where you want to install the solar systems, you will probably use some kind of racking. Whether it is a ground or roof solar system, rackings are more susceptible to external elements. After years of use, you should check them and replace them if they are not in good condition.
- Solar batteries – an essential part of the solar system if you want to store the extra power for later use, such as an off-grid solar system. However, they also degrade faster than panels, and their approximate lifespan is about ten years.
To sum things up, a reliable solar system company is a way to go if you want your solar panels to last longer. Not only will you ensure top-quality equipment, but you will also get quality maintenance. And professional solar panel company in Texas can help you prevent your solar panels expire before expectation.