How long do solar cells last?

How Long Do Solar Cells Last?

There are differing reports concerning how long solar cells last. You may have heard or read reports ranging from a couple of years to several decades. Those who hear horror stories concerning solar photovoltaic cells wonder whether the warranty on solar panels is reliable. Others rush in based on reports of the durability of solar panels.

Despite these conflicting reports, the ability of solar panels to resist bad weather and last a long time remains one of the most attractive advantages of solar energy. The horror stories you hear are actually exceptions due to faulty manufacturing. The majority, particularly those with a proven track record, routinely exceed the expectations of those who go solar.

What are solar panels made of and what makes them durable?

Solar cells are made of a crystalline substance that is actually quite fragile. It lasts a long time even in bad weather such as extreme heat, high winds, rain, snow, hail, storms and even super storms because of a protective layer made of acrylic, laminate or tempered glass casing. These are very durable materials that prevent your fragile solar cells from being damaged.

Three measures are used to determine how durable your solar panels are against the weather. These are:

  • Static loading, which is a measure of how much weight the panel can handle. This translates to the weight of snow the solar cell’s casing can hold up. This will actually vary but there are panels rated as high as 60 pounds per square foot, much more than most installations would ever need.
  • Wind loading, which is how many miles per hour of wind speed it can resist. Typical modern panels are rated for140 mph winds. There are even panels that have survived 240 mph winds.
  • Hail resistance, which is how well it can handle hail hitting it a certain speeds. Panels have been tested using pneumatic pumps that fire hailstones at speeds around 250 mph. Some people have even run utility vehicles into solar panels just to see how well they would hold up.

The solar PV cells, their protective casings, and frames already have high heat tolerance. Roofs are generally at angles between 15 and 70 degrees, so it is rare that hail impacts on a solar cell directly. Most impacts are glancing blows. This angle and the heat generated by a functioning solar panel causes snow to slide down it. Properly attached solar panels will not allow snow to dam up.

Can you rely on your solar panel’s warranty?

When solar technology was young, typical warranties were around 10 to 15 years. Today that standard has increased to 25 years and is expected to become 30 years sometime in the near future. This is a testament to the increasing durability of modern solar power systems, particularly the solar cells and panels.

What is more important than the warranty, however, is the reputation of solar power providers. They are the ones who actually back the guarantees stated in your warranty. You don’t want to go through the hassle of product recalls by companies trying to get into solar technology. Providers with excellent track records, such as RGS Energy, will help ensure that your solar power system and its installation are top notch.

What are the vulnerabilities of your solar panel installation?

There are weak points in any solar panel. These include:

  • The underside of your solar panels, which will have portions not covered by its protective casing.
  • Your roof, which must be rated to handle the extra load your solar panels will place on it.
  • Freak accidents, such as a tree branch falling on it from above.
  • The expertise of your installer.

All of these weaknesses can be lessened if you tap an experienced provider with a proven track record of successful installations several decades long.

Bottom line

Solar panels are more durable than ever before. They are designed to resist harsh weather such as strong winds, snow, and even hail. Systems designed and installed by reputable providers will provide many years of reliable solar energy.

Visit to learn how a solar energy system can be right for your home or business.

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