When is it time to replace Solar Panels?
Solar energy has been a reliable and potent alternative to fuel sources. And with good reason too! You can’t beat its convenience, affordability, or environmental friendliness. However, if you own solar panels in your home or business and don’t properly maintain them, you might be losing out on their full potential. Make sure your solar panels are in the best condition possible by paying attention to these warning signs that it’s time to replace them.
1) Low efficiency and less Power Yield
A troubling fact about solar panels is that, over time, they might not be able to provide optimal levels of energy output. The first sign of this happening is if you’re generating less power with the lowest efficiency even when nothing has been altered in its setup. If your production decreases significantly with little to no changes to the factors involved like location and usage then it’s probably time for a big decision.
When a solar panel’s power yield is less than 50 percent of its original capacity, it’s probably time to replace your old panels with new ones. These days, solar panels have a maximum efficiency of 18-22% but if you are getting less than 10%, then surely it’s time for a replacement.
2) Signs Indicating fading or discoloration on Surface
Sometimes, a solar panel’s surface can become discolored or faded, which is an indication that there’s something wrong with it. It means that moisture has seeped into your system and has caused damage over time. If you notice anything unusual about your panels’ appearance, have them inspected by a professional as soon as possible. Debris and other contamination can be the reason for fading, resulting in decreased energy production and could lead to major issues down the road.
3) Micro cracks/ broken Glass of Solar Panel
Tempered glass is used to protect solar cells from weathering and physical damage but if this glass protection is compromised, there could be serious consequences. Frequent windstorms or hurricanes can damage tempered glass, so if you live in an area prone to extreme weather events, keep an eye on your solar panels for signs of wear and tear and timely replacement.
If you see any physical damage, such as cracks in your solar panels, it’s time to start thinking about replacing them. Damaged solar panels will decrease efficiency and lead to expensive repairs. Plus, cracked glass is a safety hazard for anyone who comes into contact with it.
4) Inverter Shows Unexpected Errors
If you own a solar system with an inverter, and it suddenly begins showing errors that weren’t there before, that could raise two questions. First, why is your inverter not working properly? And second, is there something bad happening to your solar panels?
When your inverter doesn’t get the required voltage and current from panels even in peak sun hours then it shows an error. This is one of the warning signs to replace solar panels. Only a certified professional can diagnose whether or not your solar panels are causing problems for your inverter.
5) Solar Panel’s Lifespan is over
Maybe this isn’t something you really want to hear but when your solar panel’s lifespan is over, you might face a significant drop in overall performance. A decade of exposure to sunlight will eventually wear down a panel’s effectiveness. This is especially true if you live in an area with heavy cloud cover or dust storms. Tier 1 and tier 2 solar panel manufacturers claim that their products can last up to 25 years but due to environmental conditions and poor maintenance they often do not last as long as they should.
The best way to determine whether or not your solar panels need replacing is by performing a test on their output. If they are less efficient than when they were new, then it’s probably time for new ones.