The oldest known solar panel still works. So could solar panels last forever? The oldest known grid-tied solar system still in operation is in New Hampshire. It was installed in 1993, which makes it 26 years old. Interestingly, that means it has been in operation only one year longer than Freedom Forever guarantees it’s systems for! What is known for sure is that solar panels are very reliable and require very little maintenance.
How solar panels wear out
The amount of power a solar panel produces degrades over time. Modern solar panels (manufactured after 2000) are expected to lose less than 0.4% of their output per year. That means after 25 years, a solar system would be expected to still produce 90% of its original output. Even after 100 years, the panels in a modern solar system would still be expected to produce 60% of its original output! A hundred years certainly isn’t forever but it is a lifetime.
How weather affects panel performance
Cold has little effect on panel performance. In fact, solar sys are more efficient if its a little chilly. As solar panels get hotter, they lose some efficiency and thus generate less power. They are built to withstand heavy rain, hail, wind, and temperature extremes for years. But there are rare instances where solar panels have been damaged by heavy hail. The same goes for wind damage, it happens but only rarely. Solar systems on the eastern US seaboard held up very well when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. There is a very small chance that lightning could damage solar panels, but since solar systems are required to be grounded, the risk is vanishingly small.
Inverters usually have a shorter lifespan than solar panels
Solar inverters often have a shorter lifespan than solar panels. But there are several different types of inverters. Some of them are warrantied to last as long as solar panels, usually about 25 years. The longest-lasting inverters are microinverters. With microinverters, each panel gets its own inverter. The inverters with the shortest warranty are battery-based inverters, which typically come with two to 10-year warranties.
Home batteries also don’t last as long as solar panels. They are usually warrantied to last for 10 years. But the fact remains that home batteries haven’t been out long enough to know for sure how long they will actually last.
Freedom Forever solar systems: Guaranteed power production
Solar power systems are reliable. There are just a few things that can go wrong. The most common problem is that a tree branch grows over the system and puts it in shade. Performance can also drop off if you don’t occasionally clean the panels. Possibly the worst thing that can happen is if your system breaks and you don’t realize it stopped producing power. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that with a Freedom Forever solar system.
We guarantee that our systems will produce the electricity promised in your contract with our 25-Year Production Guarantee. We will even pay you for any shortfall that is the result of our fault. However, your actual savings will depend on your usage and electricity rates in your area. You should carefully consider if the usage and rates shown in your proposal are appropriate. Keep in mind that many homeowners will use more electricity after going solar. Don’t do that! It’s a smart idea to monitor your power production and power usage to make sure you aren’t using more power than you generate.