Solar Panel Depreciation:

The Secrets of Peak Performance

When considering solar for your home or business, you may have wondered about solar panel depreciation. Like any home addition or electrical appliance, solar panels will degrade slowly, converting slightly less solar energy with each passing year. However, it’s no secret that solar technology has come a long way in recent years. Solar panels are now more efficient and longer lasting than ever before. You can typically expect more than 30 years of solar energy production for your home or business! 

We’re proud to have brought 2,800+ solar projects to light for our Illinois and Missouri neighbors. Get started with solar today!

What Causes Solar Panels to Depreciate?

Updated 4.9.2024

Obviously solar panels are made to be in the sunshine. Long-term exposure to outdoor elements can reduce power generation. There are no moving parts to a solar array, but electrical connections and material quality can fade from the stress of sunlight, heat, and extreme weather. Solar panel depreciation occurs when the electrical connections and material quality decline over time. For instance, heat with humidity can corrode cells and ultraviolet rays can contribute to discoloration of modules. The loss of efficiency can translate to a loss of production in your solar PV system.

Top Tier Solar Panels Make a Difference

Tier 1 solar panel manufacturers meet higher standards and produce panels with lower degradation rates when compared with Tier 2 or Tier 3 panels. StraightUp Solar uses high-quality Tier 1- rated modules with 25-year performance guarantees. Our Project Developer will select the best modules for your home and will share each panel brand’s specifications sheets and energy production value during your solar proposal discussion. This is your opportunity to understand how your system works over its lifetime and the solar panel depreciation rate.

Here’s an Example

Let’s look at an example from the REC Alpha 470W specification sheet. In the first year of installation, the panels are guaranteed to produ

ce 98% of the estimated power of the system. The following years the panels have a 0.25% degradation rate, meaning in year 25, your system will produce 92% of the power generated from the first day of installation.

REC Solar Panels

StraightUp Solar Production Guarantee & Warranties

We stand by our energy production estimates. StraightUp Solar provides a 10-year performance warranty. If your energy production is below 85% of our estimated production, we will refund the difference of your energy savings. Learn more about StraightUp Solar’s warranties.

Production Monitoring at Your Fingertips

StraightUp Solar offers monitoring display features with our solar PV system installations. The monitoring display transmits energy production data to an application on your phone or desktop. You can track your system’s energy output at that moment, for the day, month, and year.

StraightUp Solar also monitors your system and is notified of any communications or malfunctions. If your system is not performing as expected, please reach out to our full-time Service Department.

Ways Keep Your Panels at Peak Performance

A simple panel cleaning (see FAQ on how to clean my panels) with a garden hose can take away any dust and pollen buildup left after a rain. You should also protect your solar array with Critter Guard. This fence-like apparatus sets a barrier between your panel and your shingles, preventing birds from nesting underneath the panels and squirrels from chewing the wires. Contact our Service Department if you are interested in installing Critter Guard.

For more information on maintaining an optimal solar PV system, check out our Service Troubleshooting page.

Get Your Free Solar Estimate Today

StraightUp Solar serves our Illinois and Missouri communities. Among other specifications, we factor solar panel depreciation into your solar design to meet the your unique energy needs. Reach out today for a free, custom assessment to match the right system to your home or business. 

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