You may have heard that solar panels degrade when not in use, but is that actually true? The answer is a little complicated, but we’re here to help explain it to you.
First of all, it’s important to understand that solar panels don’t degrade when not in use the way you might think they do. In fact, they actually continue to produce energy, just at a reduced rate.
This is because solar panels are only really “deactivated” when there’s no sunlight present.
So, if you’re not using your solar panels for an extended period of time, they will still work—you just might not see the same level of efficiency as you would if they were constantly in use.
Overview of Solar Panels
Solar panels are a great way to reduce your reliance on the grid and save on your energy bills.
But what happens when you go on vacation and your panels aren’t producing any energy? Will they still work when you get back? And if they do degrade over time, how much power will they lose?
We’ll explore all of these questions and more in this article.
Do Solar Panels Degrade When Not in Use?
Your solar panels will degrade whether they’re in use or not. There’s no avoiding it.
But the good news is that they won’t degrade very much at all when they’re not in use. In fact, they might only lose about 0.5% of their efficiency per year.
So, if you’re not using them for a few months, it’s not a big deal.
But there is one thing you should keep in mind: moisture. If your solar panels get too much moisture, they can start to corrode and degrade quicker.
That’s why it’s important to make sure they’re covered and protected from the elements when they’re not in use.
Types of Solar Panels and Their Lifespans
There are three types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film.
Monocrystalline solar panels are made of a single, large crystalline silicon cell. They are the most efficient and have a lifespan of about 25 years.
Polycrystalline solar panels are made of many small silicon cells and have a lifespan of about 20 years.
Thin film solar panels are made of a thin film of silicon, copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), or cadmium telluride (CdTe) and have a lifespan of about 10-15 years.
All solar panels degrade over time, but the degradation is not noticeable until the end of their lifespan. At that point, they will still produce about 80%-89% of their original power output.
How to Protect Solar Panels
To ensure your solar panels are in top condition, you can take a few steps to protect them from the elements when not in use.
Make sure to check your solar system periodically for any damage or wear and tear. Also, ensure that the surface of the panel is clean and free from dirt or dust so it can function at its best.
You should also keep an eye out for any physical damage to the system, such as cracking or chipping of the panel’s surface, which could reduce its efficiency significantly.
Additionally, make sure that all wiring and connections are secure and tight – even a small break in a wire can dramatically reduce efficiency.
If you’re expecting inclement weather, especially strong winds or freezing temperatures, it’s a good idea to give your system some extra protection.
Try covering it with a tarpaulin or plastic sheeting and make sure that it is securely attached so that none of the panels can move or come loose during bad weather conditions.
Doing this will help preserve your solar panels and keep them functioning optimally for years to come.
Maintenance Tips for Solar Panel Systems
You may be wondering what you can do to ensure your solar panel system functions as efficiently as possible for years to come. The good news is that solar panels don’t require much in the way of maintenance
While some manufacturers may advise regular cleaning or visual inspections, this will depend on the type of system and its particular environment.
In general, you’ll need to keep your system free of dust and debris and check for visible signs of damage or defects every now and then.
For those looking to really get the most from their solar panel system, there are some great options.
Investing in an optimizer or inverter monitoring device will help you identify areas where the performance of your system needs improvement.
By informing you about real-time data related to energy production, a monitoring device can give you greater insight into how effectively your solar panel system is functioning and help diagnose any issues that may arise over time.
The short answer is no. Solar panels don’t degrade when not in use.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind. While solar panels may not degrade, the efficiency of their energy production may decrease over time due to natural elements such as wind, rain, extreme temperatures, and general wear and tear.
All these factors can lead to lower performance than expected over time.
Another thing to consider is that without regular cleaning and maintenance of the solar panels, dirt and dust can start to build up over time and reduce the efficiency of electricity production from the panels.
Therefore, it is important to regularly check your solar system for any signs of wear and tear or dirt/dust buildup that may reduce performance.
Finally, if you plan on keeping solar panels unused for a long period of time, it’s important to disconnect them from the grid or have a storage system in place so that you don’t end up using precious electricity unnecessarily. That way you can ensure your solar system is ready whenever you decide to use it again!
Solar panels degrade whether in use or not. So, if you’re not using them, it’s important to keep them covered.