Everything you need to know about Solar Panel Degradation

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Introduction

The degradation rate of solar panels means the lifespan of a solar power system. Generally, the guarantee period is between 25 to 30 years.

But they can still produce electricity for decades more than the given period. Solar panels do not work at the same rate all-time as years go by.

They will produce electricity at a lower rate, which is called solar panel degradation. As the degradation will happen for sure, the solar panel manufacturers will change their guarantee after ten years of usage.

Glyde solar is one of the leading companies in the production of solar panels. The mission of Glyde solar is to establish energy independence for people.

The main aim is to make people understand the uses of solar energy and guide them on how to use it, and transform their entire house to solar power.

solar-panel-degradation_StatisticsImage source  :Google

Come on, let’s discuss the degradation rate of solar panels and know the cause for degradation in this blog.

Do you know?

The world’s first installed solar panel is still generating electricity at 60.

Cause for solar degradation

Different factors affect the performance of solar panel systems. But the main factor that affects it is the weather.

There may be some cracks during thermal cycling. The micro-cracks expand when it is warm and shrink back when cold. The force winds cause a bend in the panels, and that also causes rapid degradation.

But if you installed solar panel systems from a highly rated manufacturer, that will not be a problem. The extreme weather condition will affect the voltage potential of the solar panels. The degradation will occur due to high exposure to UV rays.

There are three types of solar degradation. They are mentioned and explained below.

  1. Light-induced degradation
  2. Potential induced degradation
  3. Age-related degradation

Light-induced degradation

solar panel degradation factorImage Source : Google

There are different ways the solar panels degrade due to light effects. The effect may be in the form of chemical or mechanical. For the first 1000 hours, the photoconductivity will diminish, which causes degradation for up to 3%, and after some time, it stabilizes.

When the sunlight interacts with the silicon crystalline on the solar panel, which causes degradation, LID lasts for some days or a week.

  • Direct light-induced degradation:

After installation, when the sunlight falls on the panel, the electronics within the photovoltaic cells begin to warp or buckle due to heat. This type of degradation will last for hours.

  • UV Light-induced degradation:

Initially, when the UV rays fall on the surface of the solar panels, the crystalline silicon oxide will form a layer of boron oxide that causes degradation. 

 Potential induced degradation

Potential induced degradation does not cause effects on every solar panel. This kind of degradation occurs due to voltage changes that cause voltage leaks, and also it reduces the flow of electricity that the panel sends to the solar inverter.

 Age-related degradation

By nature, the solar panel loses work due to certain environmental changes. Climate conditions like extremely hot or cold and snow cause the degradation of solar panels. The crystalline silicon gets hardened, frame corrosion occurs, and the cells in the panel get contaminated. Due to strong wind and dust, the panel’s surface gets little cracks, and as age goes by, that results in the opening of the seal, which results in water entering the panel.

 Effects of degradation rate

The solar panel degradation rate can differ from manufacturer to installer and the owner who uses it. It occurs due to various factors such as quality, panel assembly installation, maintenance, and weather. Usually, the photovoltaic solar panel degradation over time will be about 0.5% per year in the median range. Solar companies also have a part in the rate of degradation. The annual degradation rate can be calculated as the percent difference between each year’s production.

  • Quality:

The solar glass, solar cells, and frames used in the manufacturing of solar panels should not be of low quality. That causes breakage in the solar panel. While making metal frames, some manufacturers use low-quality aluminum to reduce the upfront cost of the solar panel. 

  • Panel assembly:

Some manufacturers use only good quality materials, but when the panel assembly is not properly done, that reduces the lifespan of the solar panel’s performance.

  • Solar installation:

Proper packing and handling must be there during the storage and installation of the solar panels. The solar installer plays a vital role in the solar panel lifespan. Because the cracks, scratches, and wrong electrical connection cause degradation. The proper placement of the panels is also a must.

  • Maintenance:

The solar panels require only less maintenance. But routine maintenance checks for any dust accumulation on the surface of the panels and if any loose or broken cables cause physical damage to the solar systems.

  • Weather:

Due to some external factors such as extreme weather cycles like heat waves and hurricanes makes the cells in the panels expand and contract, called solar cell degradation. And that causes cracks and other damages to the panels.

 Recycling solar panels

how-solar-panels-are-recycledImage source  :Google

The solar panels can be recycled, but they require a large area. You have to separate the panels and remove the various metals like aluminum, cadmium, and gallium. They can be used in certain electronic devices even after that. In China, they have found that we get polyethylene glycol terephthalate (PET) and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) at the end of the life cycle of the solar panels. We get 10% of EVA and 5% of PET from the waste. 

 You can contact  Glyde Solar for details.

Conclusion

Degradation is a very normal thing in any machine. Even in solar panels, degradation occurs due to various factors. So the owner has to purchase a good quality solar panel and handle it properly with regular check-ups and maintenance. Some solar panels generally last for up to 50 years, and it depends on the quality of making, climatic conditions, and usage.

 FAQs

1.How long does it take for solar panels to degrade?

Thermal cycling, frozen climate, extreme heat and UV rays make the solar panels degrade.

2.How can we prevent solar degradation?

Installing high quality solar panels and maintaining regular service prevents degradation.

3.Do solar panels degrade when not in use?

Usually the degradation will be slow when in use. But the extreme heat and cold climate will affect the panel a lot.

4.Do broken solar panels work?

Once a panel is broken there is no way to fix it back.

5.When to clean a solar panel?

You can clean the panels once every six months.

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