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    Life expectancy of PV panels

    What sort of life expectancy do today's PV panels have? Is it a natural function for them to deteriorate over time or from age, #cycles, (like most batteries would), humidity, your golf handicap or whatever, or can you reasonably expect a long life, like 20+ years if there's no physical damage?

    #2
    Originally posted by caribconsult View Post
    What sort of life expectancy do today's PV panels have? Is it a natural function for them to deteriorate over time or from age, #cycles, (like most batteries would), humidity, your golf handicap or whatever, or can you reasonably expect a long life, like 20+ years if there's no physical damage?
    Most module manufacturers publish specs on their products' degradation over time, but for 20 years it isn't much.

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      #3
      There is no listed life span. There are 30+ year old modules still producing energy for people. But they lose efficiency over time. From an economic point of view, they reach a place where the efficiency has declined enough that they should be replaced with newer modules even though they are still producing most of their original energy rating.

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        #4
        25 year performance guarantees are common. Typically they guarantee 90% of rated power at that point. That does not cover other possible defects. A couple companies (Sunpower, LG) are actually warrantying the product against all defects for 25 years.

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          #5
          Calculate the break-even point for buying them. They will die just before that.

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            #6
            Originally posted by pv_n00b View Post
            There is no listed life span. There are 30+ year old modules still producing energy for people. But they lose efficiency over time. From an economic point of view, they reach a place where the efficiency has declined enough that they should be replaced with newer modules even though they are still producing most of their original energy rating.
            I can't see how that makes any sense. Unless you have a storage system and are completely off grid and depend on the output being at a certain level to meet your electrical needs, at least on an average basis, what is the driver for replacement? At 25 years, the panel costs are fully sunk and whatever your're getting really is free. Why incur capital costs at this point? For what kind of gain? 10% or 15%? That would never meet any kind of reasonable ROI.

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              #7
              The real answer is nobody really knows. They just haven't been around long enough to tell for sure but 20 or 30 or 40 years is not something that should surprise one as a life expectancy for such things. It also wouldn't surprise me if over a long period Of time like that the conversion efficiency went down substantially. But since virtually nobody paid full price for their PV systems what difference does it make?
              Bob

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                #8
                life span?

                the hit/run PV companies that have proliterated my state arrange contractuals with townships they set up solar farms in for ownership of them w/life span in mind

                ~RJ~

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                  #9
                  I worked for an international company that supplies PV panels..been developing them for the last 13yrs and we made a couple of visits to a few of their very 1st clients and to my surprise the panels were working fine...they had given a maximum of 15 years at the time..it all depends with the quality but to be fair 20 years is a good bargain.
                  show me

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by petersonra View Post
                    But since virtually nobody paid full price for their PV systems what difference does it make?
                    Could you stop injecting your politics at every opportunity?
                    Ethan Brush - East West Electric. NY, WA. MA

                    "You can't generalize"

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                      #11
                      It's the lifetime of inverters that matters.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by gadfly56 View Post
                        I can't see how that makes any sense. Unless you have a storage system and are completely off grid and depend on the output being at a certain level to meet your electrical needs, at least on an average basis, what is the driver for replacement? At 25 years, the panel costs are fully sunk and whatever your're getting really is free. Why incur capital costs at this point? For what kind of gain? 10% or 15%? That would never meet any kind of reasonable ROI.
                        I think you are basically correct. Except for people with money who are looking to drastically increase their consumption. (e.g. 'I bought a house that already had a solar system, but it's too small for me') Also at the utilty scale there will probably be cases where overhauling arrays with new panels makes sense, since more is invested in the rest of the plant. I have always thought that at some point there would be a robust market for used PV panels discarded by such people. But we're only ten years into installation of PV at scale, so we probably have at least another decade until that would take off.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by gadfly56 View Post
                          I can't see how that makes any sense. Unless you have a storage system and are completely off grid and depend on the output being at a certain level to meet your electrical needs, at least on an average basis, what is the driver for replacement? At 25 years, the panel costs are fully sunk and whatever your're getting really is free. Why incur capital costs at this point? For what kind of gain? 10% or 15%? That would never meet any kind of reasonable ROI.
                          Your description of our system is exactly right. We run 'off grid' about 99% of the time, we have the grid but generally only switch the house to the grid (completely bypassing the Tesla system) when we use our electric clothes dryer, and the 21 panels we have on the roof are more than enough to fully recharge the Tesla battery in moderately bright light, not necessarily direct sun, ususally by 1-2pm of afternoon, sometimes as early as 11:30 if it's summer and clear out. We love it.

                          I think you and several other posters answered my question regarding life expectancy from today's brand of PV panels, so thank you very much for your input.

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                            #14
                            Thanks to everyone who replied to my question. I think I have a much better idea now what to expect. For the poster who asked about the Tesla Roof, sorry about my off-topic reply. I didn't know there was a "Tesla Roof" item, I thought you just meant a roof full of PV panels feeding a Tesla system.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by caribconsult View Post
                              Your description of our system is exactly right. We run 'off grid' about 99% of the time, we have the grid but generally only switch the house to the grid (completely bypassing the Tesla system) ...
                              I believe that here is a way to program the Tesla Energy Gateway to do that automatically. It won't connect you to the grid until your usage exceeds what you can get from the batteries. It's tied to the unfortunately worded term "self consumption". It doesn't mean you are eating your leg.

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