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How long do solar panels last in Australia?

Solar panels have become increasingly popular in Australia over the past two decades, with homeowners drawn by the possibility of saving money on their energy bills while also potentially lowering their carbon emissions and increasing their property value.

And while solar panels are generally a safe long-term investment, they do require proper maintenance to ensure no degradation in their performance. This article discusses the average lifespan of solar panels, as well as offering key tips to increase their longevity and looking at whether they’re usually covered under a warranty.

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What is the average solar panel lifespan?

The good news is that solar panels can last 25 to 30 years when installed correctly and regularly maintained by a professional. Most solar panel manufacturers offer a warranty period of at least 10 years, which highlights the manufacturers’ confidence in their products’ durability.

However, the average lifespan of a solar panel depends on factors including the quality of the installation, the type and brand of panel, weather conditions in the installation location and frequency of maintenance. When seeking to purchase a solar panel system, ask the installer about high-quality brands with a longer lifespan, typically above 20 years.

Do solar panels degrade over time, and why?

Solar panels do degrade over time. The process occurs mainly due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which breaks down the materials in the panels. Australia has some of the highest UV radiation rates in the world, leading to faster solar panel degradation.

However, the rate of degradation depends on the type of solar panel installed, the quality of the materials used and proper installation and maintenance – as well as the level of UV radiation in your location. Even with degradation, your solar panels can still produce electricity, just at a less efficient rate than when they were new. For example, Chinese panel manufacturer Maysun Solar estimates that that panels suffer a decrease of 12-15% of their electricity generation capability over their 25-30 year lifespan.

Compare solar electricity plans in your state

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4613kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4011kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Three tips to increase solar panel lifespan

Regular professional maintenance is vital to the longevity of your solar panels. Many solar installers in Australia recommend scheduling professional maintenance checks on your panels at least once every two years. Between pro upkeep, there are a few things you can do to increase the lifespan of your solar panels, while making sure you’re very careful when working on your roof!

  • Keep your solar panels clean by wiping them with a non-abrasive cloth or soft-bristled broom and water. This will prevent dust and debris build-up that could impair the panels’ ability to receive sufficient sunlight.
  • Check for any damages or defects on the surface of the panels and have them repaired immediately. Failure to fix these issues could lead to further damage.
  • Inspect the condition of the solar panels regularly, especially after extreme weather conditions, such as hailstorms – if it’s safe to do so!

Are solar panels covered under a warranty?

Most, if not all, solar panels come with a warranty that covers defects and failures. Solar panels typically have a warranty period of between 10 and 25 years, depending on the type of panel and manufacturer. Always ask your installer about what is and isn’t covered under the warranty before going ahead with solar panel installation. This info will usually be outlined in the fine print of your contract too, so make sure to read it and ask your installer any questions you may have about the warranty terms.

Are solar panels covered by home insurance?

Most home and contents insurance policies cover solar panels and other parts of your solar system, such as the inverter, because they’re considered a permanent fixture that’s part of the building, but it’s important to check the Product Disclosure Statement and any other documents that come with your policy to ensure they’re included. You may need to make your insurer aware that your home includes a solar system because this could impact your ‘sum insured’, which is the value you stand to recoup in a claim. A higher sum insured could increase your insurance premium.

Also, be aware that damage to your solar panels caused by some weather events may be excluded from your policy, or excluded if those weather events aren’t specifically noted as covered by your policy. If you’re unsure about what circumstances in which your solar panels and other items are covered, it’s wise to check specifically about this with your insurer.

Jared Mullane
Energy Contributor
Jared Mullane was a content producer and editor at Canstar Blue for three years until 2022, most recently as Energy Editor. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Griffith University.

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