How long will solar panels last?

Solar PV Panels

How long will solar panels last

How long can solar panels be used? Anyone who knows a little about photovoltaics can give the answer: 25 years.

However, I believe many people have doubts about this answer. Can the small body with the glass and the back plate sandwich the battery plate withstand 25 years of exposure to the sun, wind, and rain?

how long will solar panels last

We have collected some cases to fully illustrate that there is no problem with photovoltaic modules for 25 years or more.

British case

Looking at foreign countries first, the UK’s first photovoltaic system has only decayed by 5% in 20 years. This system is a 2.16kW photovoltaic array with 36 60W polycrystalline modules, built in 1994. Twenty years later, a comprehensive inspection was conducted on this power station. The test includes the complete IV curve of the module, open circuit voltage, short circuit current, and measured solar irradiance and temperature on the back of the module. The test results showed that the module power was only 5% attenuated, and then the entire photovoltaic array was tested. Although the array is full of trees and the shadow of debris, it can still produce 80% of the system’s initial power output.

Not only that, according to reports, this photovoltaic system that has been in operation for more than 20 years can continue to serve for at least 20 years!

Chinese case

After talking about UK countries, let’s talk about the chinese situation.

The following is the oldest civilian photovoltaic power station in China.

It has an initial installed capacity of 10KW. It was built in 1983 and has a history of more than 30 years. It is located in Lanzhou, Gansu. At that time, the domestic photovoltaic industry was still very immature, and the scale was very small. The national output was about 5MW. At that time, due to insufficient infrastructure, many remote villages in the Yuzhong area did not have electricity. This batch of solar panels brought the people at that time. Bright, distributed in every household.

In the late 1980s, with China’s gradual development and construction, the State Power was delivered to this small village, and the mission of these solar monocrystalline panels for residents was completed. Of course, it would be a different matter if the state also encouraged distributed photovoltaics at that time.

There is an episode here. When the electricity was turned on, many of the battery panels were removed by the villagers. Because they didn’t know what they were used for, some of them discarded them directly, and some of them took apart the glass panels and used aluminum frames to mount the photos. Just make up, it seemed pretty fashionable at the time). What’s more, the board was directly inserted next to the pigsty fence as the pigsty door, and the battery panel was seriously damaged. 

Now it seems that there is really a feeling of violence. Based on this situation, experts and scholars from the Gansu Natural Energy Research Institute negotiated with the local government villagers to recycle the battery panels, and paid arduous efforts and costs for this. But some are still too badly damaged and can only be abandoned. After all kinds of hardships and years of exposure, wind and rain, its current power is still 7KW.

From a close point of view, the cell has turned yellow, but it does not prevent it from continuously supplying power to the grid. Now these 30-year-old solar panels are still working normally, and the electricity they generate is also connected to the grid. From the perspective of appearance and age, they can definitely be selected as China’s most beautiful old components. Regardless of the basic power generation function, ordinary items more than 30 years old are now rare, let alone these solar panels from the budding period of China’s photovoltaic. Not to mention that today’s technology is more mature, the examples 30 years ago have fully confirmed that photovoltaic modules can be used for more than 25 years.

how long will solar panels last


Depending on the manufacturer, solar panels’ performance can be guaranteed for 25 – 30 years. So if you wanna build a solar project, the most important thing is to find a reliable solar panel supplier. And now 500w solar panel is the best choice for your solar project. 

Should you replace your solar panels after 25 years?

Solar panel systems will keep producing electricity even after the 25-year warranty period if they are well maintained. However, it is important to note that they won’t be as efficient at energy production versus when they were first installed.

So, you do not need to replace your panels if :
1. Your solar panels produce enough energy for your electricity needs
2. If none of your panels are broken

But you do need to replace your panels if:
1. Your solar panels produce too little electricity to the point where they no longer adequately power your home
2. Your system was not properly maintained and has many broken panels