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Thread: Life expectancy of PV panels

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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?

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

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    Quote 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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    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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    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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    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.

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    Quote 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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