Solar Panel Lifecycle

Find out the average life of solar panels and what happens to them once they are no longer on your roof.

  • How are solar panels made? Solar panels are usually made from a few key components: silicon, metal, and glass. Silicon is a nonmetal with conductive properties that give it the ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Standard panels are either made from monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy conclusively demonstrates that Photovoltaic (PV) systems avoid far more carbon dioxide through their clean energy production than are introduced by the manufacturing of PV systems. READ MORE →
  • Average Lifetime: The average lifetime for installed solar panels are 25-35 years, depending on the installer and panels used for the solar project. This doesn’t mean that they stop producing electricity after 25 years – it just means that energy production has declined by what manufacturers consider to be a significant amount. Solar panels can continue to work for many decades, given they aren’t physically damaged by wind, debris, or any other external factors. This is primarily because solar panels don’t have any moving parts – they rarely break from within and are usually only damaged by outside forces like a poor racking setup or a weather disaster. READ MORE →
  • Life after rooftop use: It is a myth that solar panels can't be recycled. Many of the core components of solar panels can be recycled on their own, but the more complex and expensive aspect is separating the materials from each other so they can be processed individually. In silicon-based cells, the silicon wafers hold an 85% recycling rate, 95% of the glass can be reused, and all external metal parts are used for re-molding cell frames. READ MORE →
Last Updated: 6/18/2020

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