How long do solar panels last?

Have you heard that solar panels only last for 8 years?
It?s a myth.

Good quality solar panels will last over 20 years ? which is the length of the Feed-in Tariff payout scheme. Always check the manufacturer?s guarantee. Reputable solar panel manufacturers usually guarantee the performance of their solar panels at over 80% of the optimum performance for a period of 25 years.

So yes, there will probably be some degradation in the performance of your solar panels over their lifetime ? but it won?t be more than 20%. Don?t forget, the cost of your fuel bills will continue to rise over this 25-year period, so the drop in performance of your solar panels will still equate to high returns when compared to the price of electricity.

Let?s look at it another way ? solar powered calculators don?t tend to break down. They keep running for years and years ? you?ve probably still got one in your drawer from 80s, and you can always rely on them to power up when you need them.

Solar-powered calculator

Running your home off a solar PV array is just the same, but on a larger scale. The technology is the same, and just as simple.

The Government?s Solar PV Feed-in Tariff payout period is 20 years. This means you will continue to save money on your electricity bills and even earn money back from your energy supplier if you sell your surplus electricity back to the grid for 20 years ? which is shorter than the guaranteed lifespan of your solar panels.

What about the solar inverter?

There is one part of your solar PV system that may need replacing: Solar inverters, also called grid-tied inverters, convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your solar PV panels to alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home and exported back to the grid.

You can buy solar inverters of varying quality, but the inverters we prefer to use may only need replacing once in a 20-year period and perhaps not at all. The cost of an inverter is around 10% of the total cost of your solar PV installation, but we can provide extended warranties that cover the replacement of the inverter.

Calculator Image: By Christian “VisualBeo” Horvat (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By: Louisa Stockley