What Happens To Solar Panels At The End Of Their Lifespan?

Solar panels are a huge benefit to Golden, CO homes because they are the best plugged-in electricity production alternative. With a potential to generate up to 400W of energy suitable for home use, solar panels are the answer to our energy needs.

However, will solar panel lifespans make for excellent investments? Let’s find out.

The Average Solar Panel Lifespan

On average, a solar panel in Golden, CO can last for 20-25 years after its manufacturing and installation. A solar panel’s lifespan depends on certain factors.

The lifespan of solar panels in use is affected by many factors such as how much the temperature changes. Solar panels become less effective in lower temperatures and may need to be replaced more often. The hotter the temperature, the faster solar panels work and last.

Solar panels that are installed in a hot and dry environment tend to last for a longer time than those installed in a cold and humid environment. Solar panels have higher lifespan in hot and dry environments because the solar cells are less susceptible to heat and extreme humidity. When the air outside is hot and dry, the moisture around the cells evaporates quickly. This leaves a dry layer of air that prevents any condensation from forming on the surface of the cell. Heat will cause the solar panels to degrade at a slower rate, which can prolong their lifespan.

The Local Climate

Golden, CO has a semi-arid and continental climate.

A semi-arid, continental climate is a climate that is hot and dry with extreme temperatures. The winters are dry with little snow. The summers are hot with little rain. The ground is covered with cracked earth, drought-resistant plants, and hardy animals. Therefore, solar panels in Golden, CO can last for quite a long time, possibly beyond 25 years. However, some unanticipated factors may still decrease solar panel lifespans, so make sure to leave an overhead estimate for it.

GreenBiz has an excellent guide that talks about the average solar panel lifespan and performance in various climates. Learn more about them below.

Solar power is having its hockey stick moment. Since the early 2000s, the amount of solar panels being installed worldwide has been growing exponentially, and it’s expected to continue to do so for decades. By the end of 2015, an estimated 222 gigawatts worth of solar energy had been installed worldwide. According to a recent report (PDF) from the International Renewable Energy Agency, that number could reach 4,500 GW by 2050.

But the solar panels generating that power don’t last forever. The industry standard life span is about 25 to 30 years, and that means that some panels installed at the early end of the current boom aren’t long from being retired. And each passing year, more will be pulled from service — glass and metal photovoltaic modules that soon will start adding up to millions, and then tens of millions of metric tons of material.

"It’s not too far off that those are going to be coming off line, and we’re going to have a waste management issue," said Garvin Heath, a senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a solar power expert. "It’s fair to say that it’s starting to become more widely recognized as an issue that we’re going to need to start working on pretty soon."

Graph of solar installations

As photovoltaic panel installations grow, so does the need for final disposition down the road. © OECD/IEA, Design: Becquerel Institute Editing: Mary Brunisholz, IEA PVPS Analysis: Gaëtan Masson, IEA PVPS Task 1, 2016, A Snapshot of Global PV (1992-2016), IEA Publishing. (Continue reading here to learn more)

You can always count on us at Roper Roofing & Solar to provide you with the best solar panel installations in Golden, CO. Contact us today to learn more about everything we can do for you.

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