Contact a solar panel expert as soon as you observe these signs.
Solar panels are built to last. They should provide solar energy for at least 25 years with proper maintenance, regular cleaning, and favourable weather conditions. In fact, most suppliers offer a 20-year warranty on their products.
But, just like everything else, solar panels are also prone to wear and tear and will eventually need to be replaced. So, how can you tell if they are wearing out? You don’t necessarily need to see physical damages or defects to realise that you need to replace your solar panels. Sometimes, you’ll know it based on their energy output and performance. Sometimes, they could just fail.
Below are some signs that indicate you probably need to replace your solar panels sooner rather than later:
1. Performance and output
To know if your solar panel is still working optimally, you can measure its output and then compare it with the panel’s nominal rating and stated specifications. It is recommended to do this at noon on a sunny 25-degree day to get the best result. If you can see current and voltage displays, use these numbers to observe the panel’s performance. Otherwise, use a multimeter to measure the energy output.
When measuring, ensure that the multimeter is set to at least a 10amp scale. This will prevent the meter from being damaged in the event of a power surge. If the current and voltage readings are less than 80 per cent of the specified output, your solar panel may be wearing out and will therefore need to be replaced.
According to a study conducted by the United States’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory, production from the solar panel is likely to decrease by 0.5% per year. This is referred to as the degradation rate. What this means is that on the 20th year of use, the module will still be producing approximately 90% of the electricity it produced on the first year. Anything less than this means your system is failing.
2. Physical degradation
Weather, debris and other objects play an important role in the preservation of solar panels. While most solar panels use durable tempered glass, accidents may occur that can damage them.
For example, a tree limb, a big stone or flying objects from a tornado may crack the glass or ultimately damage your panels. Cracked glass is dangerous because it allows water to seep into the cells of the solar panel and cause more damage.
You can hire a maintenance crew to inspect your solar panels carefully. They will let you know if the panels can still be repaired or if it calls for a replacement.
3. Solar Panel age
Solar panels can work optimally for 20 to 30 years. Beyond this, they start to deteriorate, and their output will be reduced significantly because the photovoltaic silicon material of the panel will convert light to electricity efficiently. If your 20-year-old solar panel’s electrical output is notably less than its stated specifications, it is most likely time to have it replaced.
The energy output of your decades-old solar panels may also be not enough to support your current needs. Upgrading your old system may not be possible because modern 60-cell panels are not compatible with older models with 72 cells.
You can also achieve optimum result by replacing the entire solar panel, helping you to lower your energy bills. And with a sparkling new installation, you won’t have to worry so much about repairs (no matter how minor) for years to come.
4. Discolouration or burnt marks
If you see burnt and discoloured surfaces, you should consult with a solar panel expert as soon as possible. These indicate a corroded panel laminate, which can result to uneven temperature distribution and a decrease in energy output.
Corrosion is usually characterised by yellow to dark brown discolouration on the edge of white metal conductor strips. Generally, a specialist will advise you to replace this damaged panel.
5. Broken glass with microfractures
Cracks or small fractures, caused by extreme changes in temperature, hailstorms or impacts, can be signs of deterioration. Improper handling, especially during installation, can also result in these cracks. Depending on its severity, the fracture can reduce your solar panel’s energy production by at least 2.5 per cent.
6. Subpar or counterfeit panels
Some manufacturers use a combination of genuine and counterfeit cell conductors to cut cost. These low quality, cheaper parts have lesser solar absorption and do not convert energy as efficiently as authentic products. A specialist can recognise such parts while cleaning, installing or performing an inspection and, should this be the case, replace your panel with genuine parts.
Aztech is committed to helping you reduce your energy bills in a sustainable way
Whether you already have solar panels installed or are just considering having one, we can help. At Aztech Solar, we only use panels from one of the largest and most innovative manufacturers in the world, and you can rest assured that we only use the highest quality solar panels, batteries, and inverters.
Our in-house electrical engineers, Level 2 electricians and accredited installers are at your service. They are available for consultation and can offer complete solutions that are tailored to your needs.
Unlike some other solar panel suppliers, we help our customers to make informed decisions, rather than hard selling them. Our customers appreciate that we go above and beyond to make them satisfied and happy and we don’t stop at installing the system for you; we’ll also show you how to manage energy at home so that you can keep costs to a minimum and reduce your energy bills in the process.
Are you ready for a replacement or a full installation? Visit us at aztechsolar.com.au
Or call us on 1300 992 922 today to schedule a consultation.