What Happens To Solar Panels After 25 Years??!?!
Greetings and Salutations Energy Heros! Dan “The Solar Man” here again from Carbon Recall, to talk about disposing of solar panels.
One of the leading questions that we get from new customers is how long will the solar panels last, and the follow-up to that, what happens once my solar panels reach the end of life??
We get it. With the average house requiring 10 - 20 solar panels, thoughts about waste & disposal often arise when considering the future shift towards more properties with solar. Not to fear though, many of the components in solar panels are able to be reused, making this almost a non-issue.
To begin, let’s look at the structure of a solar panel, and what happens to these materials over time.
Most solar panels today are made of 4 main components; glass, silicon, aluminum, and some type of conductive metal such as lead or mercury. The silicon, aluminum, and glass are all easily recycled into other materials once extracted. Many of the leading solar panel brands today boast a warranty of at least 20 - 25 years. Even after the panels have reached the end of life, most panels are still going to be operating within about 80% of their efficiency, from the time they were first installed.
There are 3 main issues that can cause the performance of a solar panel to drop over time.
The first, is simply that they get dirty. Once every 5 years or so, it is recommended to do a cleaning of your solar panels, as a film of dirt will limit the amount of sunlight reaching the silicon. Simply cleaning the panels periodically will help to increase their lifespan. A local partner like Carbon Recall can easily set you up with a maintenance plan to cover this!
The second issue is physical damage to the actual panel itself. The most likely cause of these issues is weather related such as wind or hail, but we do see fire damage from time to time as a result of squirrels or birds nesting under the panels. In these cases, the best course of action is recycling the panels at a local center, and replacing them with new models.
Finally, the actual silicon wafers are responsible for generating the electricity breakdown over time. As a result of continued exposure to harsh elements such as extreme heat, the silicon wafers will crack and degrade over time, limiting their potential to discharge electrons in the presence of sunlight.
If your panels have become damaged or less efficient, you should contact a local expert, such as Carbon Recall, who can help guide and assist you in replacing old worn, or damaged panels.
Ready to get a solar panel system designed for your home? Give us a call today for your customized Energy Solutions Plan!
Until next time Energy Hero's!
Carbon Recall York