How Long Do Solar Panels Work?: A Guide to the Average Solar Panel Lifespan

Are you thinking about going solar?

If you are, then you might be wondering how long the panels will last. Of course, solar panels are an excellent investment, but you might be wondering about the lifespan of your panels. This guide will help you understand what to expect from your solar panel system and when it may need replacing.

Solar’s popularity has been rising rapidly over the last few years. What was once expensive, niche equipment is now easy to get. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 113.5 GW of solar capacity is running in the US.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the average solar panel lifespan.

What Are the Main Types of Solar Technology?

While solar panel technology has advanced over the last few decades, the market has mostly settled into a few well-used versions. Solar panels come in three different types:

  • Monocrystalline
  • Polycrystalline
  • Thin film

Monocrystalline panels use single-crystal silicon wafers as the semiconductor material. Polycrystalline panels use large blocks of silicon or other materials to create a crystalline structure. Finally, thin-film panels use amorphous silicon films or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) to produce electricity.

Why Do Solar Panels Degrade?

Improper or incorrect installation can impact the lifespan of solar panels. Mounting brackets are a particular point of failure that you should pay attention to. Ensure that the installer you’re using is qualified and has done recommended training (depending on the state).

Harsh Weather Conditions

Solar panels degrade when exposed to harsh weather conditions. They are designed to withstand average weather conditions, but if your solar panels are exposed to extreme heat, cold, rain, or wind, they may not function properly after a certain amount of time.

What Is the Average Solar Panel Lifespan?

You would be surprised how many people ask, “How long do solar panels last?” and never arrive at a helpful answer.

Crystalline Solar panels should last for about 30 years. Some companies offer warranties longer than this. A solar panel system consists of many parts, including the panels themselves, an inverter, batteries, wiring, mounting hardware, etc.

The inverter converts DC power from the panels into AC power suitable for use by your house or business. An inverter also includes other electronic components, such as transformers, capacitors, and fuses.

These components can wear out over time and require replacement. In addition, the life expectancy of these components varies depending on how often you use the system and whether you use it outdoors or indoors.

Benefits of Solar Panels

There are many benefits to installing solar panels on your house or business. Understanding the benefits and how long they will last is an important part of making a decision about which solar company to choose for installation.

A few benefits of solar panels include:

Free Electricity

Once installed, a solar panel system can generate free electricity for decades. This benefits you as well as the environment.

Tax Incentives and Grants

Federal and state governments provide tax incentives and grants to those who choose to install a solar panel system. The money-saving over time can be quite substantial.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Solar energy doesn’t release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Though panels carry a footprint themselves, over time it’s far less than traditional energy generation.

Environmental Benefits

Solar panels come with no negative side effects on the environment or wildlife. If you’re concerned about birds nesting in your panels, you can always put deterrents up.

Stable Electricity Costs

The cost of electricity generated by solar panel systems is stable. This means it doesn’t depend on an unstable economy or inflation rates. Your rate will only decrease over time.

Improved Property Value

Depending on the size and sophistication of your system, the value of your home can increase significantly. Find out for yourself by researching as much as possible before investing.


Now that you know more about solar panels and how long they should last, you can make an informed decision.

If you are thinking of switching to solar, consider the average solar panel lifespan against the inevitable rise in electricity prices. Once you’re ready, find a quality installer and start your solar journey.

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out the rest of our technology category.