How Durable Are Solar Panels?

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How durable are solar panels? blog post

Many people know that solar panels have glass exteriors, which help protect the photovoltaic elements and focus the sun. However, few know just how durable the glass coverings can be. While solar panels are not indestructible, they go through rigorous testing to ensure they meet quality standards.

Solar Panel Damage

Some are understandably concerned about the idea of putting large pieces of glass on their roof. After all, doesn’t glass break easily? It seems odd to leave them exposed to the elements like that. And how long will they last out there?

However, solar panels are surprisingly durable. Because solar panels are meant to be outside, the glass panels that cover the photovoltaics are built to the highest standards possible. The standards are developed through rigorous stress testing, including subjecting the panels to the things which will damage them. But which things will damage them?

Common Sources of Solar Panel Damage

As every homeowner knows, there are things that happen which nobody can ever truly expect. However, there are also common ways glass can be damaged. 

Protecting Solar Panels From Hail

Firstly, hail can fall on your panels. Hail has been known to damage cars and even hurt people and animals. Luckily, most hailstorms are brief and the hailstones are small. Because one of the main solar standards is hail testing, most solar installations can withstand all but the most extreme hailstorms.

Protecting Solar Panels From Thrown Objects

Baseball is America’s pastime. It’s also a time-honored American tradition for children to hit baseballs through the windows of their neighbors’ houses. Unfortunately, a baseball is large enough to begin damaging solar panels, if it’s hit hard enough.

If you live right next to the baseball diamond, it might be time to reevaluate your choice of location. However, living by a golf course is much less worrisome. The hail tests that solar panels undergo hold up for golf balls and small rocks as well. While it isn’t a guarantee that your panels will withstand any given strike, since a rock might have a pointy angle, or a golf ball may hit the corner of your panels, your panels should withstand most, if not all, random objects that are thrown or hit onto it.

Protecting Your Panels From Animals

Barring a wild buffalo finding its way onto your roof, your solar panels will be protected from almost anything that animals can do to them. However, animal droppings and nests can lower your panels’ efficiency ratings. Additionally, animals can get underneath the panels to mess with the wiring. Critter guards are a cheap and easy way to ensure that animals stay away from your panels.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Besides damage, solar panels also deteriorate naturally over the years. This is typical of all electrical devices, from your phone to your car. However, because solar panels do not have moving parts, they last for much longer than most other electronic gadgets. 

To ensure that your solar panels maintain their strength over the years, solar panels manufacturers offer warranties. Warranties can apply both to manufacturer defects and to loss of panel production. Most solar panel warranties start off at 10 years and can go up from there. Premium solar panels usually have warranties of 25 years.

What Is the Durability and Lifespan of Go Solar’s Panels?

Go Solar Group’s solar panels of choice come from LG. These panels are built to all major solar panel standards. As such, they can resist most hailstone or golf ball impacts, among other things. The main choice, the LG370N1K-A6-LG 370 NeON 2 Black, also comes with a 25-year, 90 percent production guarantee. This is a high quality warranty for a durable solar panel.

Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

But what about other types of panels? Not all solar panels are premium, monocrystalline modules. Many solar panels on the market today are polycrystalline panels — identifiable through their trademark blue hue — which tend to be cheaper than monocrystalline. 

Polycrystalline panels, while cheaper to make and potentially just as damage resistant as monocrystalline panels, have higher degradation rates. A polycrystalline panel will, over the same period of time, lose more efficiency than monocrystalline panels. For this reason, if durability is an issue for you, you should be looking at monocrystalline panels instead.

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