Will a Solar Panel Really Last 25 Years?

This question is part of the Super Big Solar Panel FAQ from Solar Mango, where expert answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels are provided.


This is a question many folks ask, because to them 25 years appears like a very long time and very few products actually have a  warranty for 25 years.

But yes, solar panels actually last for 25 years. At least good quality solar panels that are maintained reasonably well.

Hang on – If you ask a solar professional, he will say, why just 25, that good quality solar panels will work even 40 years or beyond.

I recall a meeting I had three years back, with the CEO of a global leader in solar panels. He told me that his company can even give guarantee for the solar panels to be providing about 65% of its original output 40 YEARS into operation. The only reason their company was not doing it was because no one was interested in thinking beyond 25 years!

40 years! Was he kidding?

No. While solar panels are given performance warranties only for 25 years (when they are expected to have about 80% efficiency), they can continue generating power for 10 or even 15 beyond that timeline.

One can expect the efficiency to gradually decrease as it would have done during the 25 years, but if they are maintained well, the solar panels will continue to generate reasonable amounts of electricity even on their 40th birthday. Some of the high quality manufacturers of solar panels are confident that their products will be generating a reasonable amount of electricity even after 50 years.

One question that arises when discussing lifetime of solar panels is: Which type? Are we talking about the lifetime of both crystalline and thin film solar panels, or are we talking only about crystalline solar panels?

As almost 90% of the solar panel installation worldwide is made up of crystalline solar panels (as of mid 2016), yes, we are mainly talking about the crystalline silicon solar panels when we discuss a lifetime of 40-50 years. Less is known about the lifespan of thin film panels at the moment but, as they also have 25 year warranties as standard, they can also be expected to come close to the long life of crystalline panels.

Super Big Solar Panel FAQGet to know answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels from here.



Proof exists from the various accelerated testing that have been done under stringent conditions that show that solar panels can last 25 years and more, with efficiencies at the end of 25 years still at about 80%. In fact, the good quality solar panel makers today are confident enough of this that they give a 25 year performance warranty of 80% generation (compared to first year’s generation)

Now, if you do not believe tests in labs and warranties alone and are of the opinion that “you need to see it to believe it”, there is also real life proof, where crystalline solar panels that were installed over 30 years ago are still in operation – alive and kicking.

There are quite a few cases worldwide where solar panels that were installed almost three decades back (some in early eighties and some others in mid 1980s) are still alive and kicking! Of course, there are only a few such installations, but then again, there were only a few such installations at all of solar panels 25 years ago or earlier!

So, whichever of the two types of proof convinces you more – theory or real life – you have enough proof out there for you to feel confident that good quality solar panels can indeed last for 25 years (and even longer!)

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