Plico Team 29/03/2022 8 min read

How Long Do Solar Panels Last in Australia?

Solar panels are indispensable in your journey towards greater energy independence, but how long do they last? How many years you get out of your panels makes a massive difference to your wallet. So let’s have a look at the typical lifespan of solar panels in Australia.

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels degrade slowly, with particular types and brands being slower or faster than each other – somewhere between 0.5% – 2% a year. This means solar panels have a twenty to thirty-year lifespan in Australia. The main things to remember are to ensure your panels are of good quality and installed by a reputable installer and monitor them for any signs of degradation.

What impacts solar panels' lifespan?

Multiple contributing factors affect how long your solar PV panels will function at an optimal and efficient level. The most salient of these are related to the environment.

Humidity

Humid climates create moisture that can slowly deteriorate your solar panels, impacting their efficiency in the process. This is in geographical locations where humidity is less of a season and more of a way of life (residents of Northern Territory and Queensland take note). It’s not all bad news, though – manufacturers have been making strides in diminishing the impact of humidity.

UV damage

The quality of your PV panels determines how they stand up to ultraviolet radiation, with poor manufacturers failing to use effective UV blockers on panels. Your panels shouldn’t suffer detrimental UV damage if you go through an experienced high-quality provider like Plico, as we source equipment that we know can withstand the Australian climate. We also maintain and repair any issues our members have for ten years!

Thermal cycling

No matter where you live, temperatures are continually fluctuating up and down (duh!), and like most materials in heat and cold, your panels will expand and contract. This is another reason to ensure you're investing in high-quality panels, as they are created with high-calibre materials by experienced technicians. At the end of the day, solar panels are created to be outdoors and withstand the ever-changing nature of weather.

Wind

A heavy breeze or gale (and we mean heavy) can result in your solar panels flexing, weakening them over time. The positive? Wind improves your solar panels’ efficiency!

How can I slow down my solar panel degradation?

What can you do to help increase your solar panels’ lifespan and save yourself significant bucks in the process? The good news is that with a little conscientiousness, you can make a difference.

Buy high-quality solar panels

This seems like a no brainer, right? Of course you’d want to get the best quality solar panels you can. However, the trap people fall into is the starry-eyed optimism that they’re getting an incredible deal. Beware. The overwhelming consensus in our industry is that you get what you pay for, with cheap solar panels giving their owners a world of costly inconvenience – they really are too good to be true.

Now that Australian solar has been booming for over a decade, enough time has elapsed for some of the issues with cheap panels to come to light. Be stringent in your research, and ensure you’re offered a clear warranty or inclusive maintenance. Your solar provider should have nothing to hide.

Ensure your panels are properly installed

This is another obvious point but make sure your installer is a reputable professional. Here at Plico, we’ve consistently used the same local professionals because they know the area and have a proven history of excellence in their work. Incorrect installation of your panels will make them more susceptible to the previously mentioned degrading factors.

Maintenance

If you’re a Plico member, we’ll maintain your solar + battery solution for ten years, so you can focus on reaping the benefits of your solar energy. Additionally, our technology tracks our members' systems, allowing us to provide preemptive support.

When should I replace my solar panels?

Multiple factors can indicate that it’s time to change your solar panels. It could be physical degradation, a drop in efficiency, a palpable feeling that you’re not getting the power generation you once were or preemptively changing them due to their age. However, most manufacturers and installers adhere to the wisdom of changing your solar panels when they drop to around 80% efficiency. How long does that take to happen, you ask?

Want to find out what Plico’s ten years of ongoing maintenance and support looks like? Get in contact with the switched on Plico team to learn how we maintain our members’ solar + battery systems.

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