Lower Degradation of Premium Solar Panels

Investing in a premium solar panel not only ensures fewer issues and quicker resolutions because of their reliability, but are also guaranteed to last you longer. Solar panel performance warranties generally allow for 2-3% degradation in their first year and 0.7% or less each year after. The reason why they allow for extra degradation early on is not because panels degrade rapidly in their first year but because they degrade rapidly in their first few hours. This initial degradation is due to light Induced Degradation, or LID which affects most solar panels and reduces their efficiency by 1-3% during the first few hours they are exposed to sunlight. Scientifically speaking, this initital degradation is due to the oxygen impurities in crystalline silicon bonding with boron dopant to produce a boron oxygen complex that reduces the minority carrier diffusion length.

Panels slowly decline in output over the years as tiny cracks develop in the silicon solar cells which are also known as micro cracks — and electrical connections deteriorate. If degradation becomes severe it can lead to a runaway effect where damage begets damage causing solar panel deterioration to accelerate; rapidly resulting in complete failure. This degradation is most likely to occur in poor quality solar panels that may be sold to you for a cheap price initially but will end up not proving to be a profitable investment.

Some of the main reasons why solar panels deteriorate are as follows –

  • Thermal cycling: Materials expand and contract at different rates with temperature changes. This puts joins between different materials under strain and causes slow deterioration. The main temperature change — or thermal cycle — occurs between night and day, but there can be many thermal cycles during a day as the sun goes behind clouds or rain hits panels.
  • Dynamic Mechanical Load: This is a fancy term for flexing caused by wind. While properly clamped panels won’t flex much, it’s still enough to cause damage over time.
  • Humidity: The combination of high heat and humidity found in tropical Australia can be hard on solar panels. Crap ones can literally fall apart as the glue holding them together gives up the ghost. It can also contribute to a form of electrical deterioration known as PID. This is short for Potential Induced Degradation and is basically caused by naughty electrons going where they’re not supposed to or, more accurately, it’s caused by naughty panels that don’t keep electrons under control.
  • UV damage: This isn’t a serious problem for decent solar panels that have quality UV blockers in the epoxy (glue) that holds them together. But if a crap manufacturer leaves it out to save a few dollars per unit they will start to turn yellow in the sun and in extreme cases the panel will come apart as its glue is destroyed.
  • Freezing: If water can enter joints and seals and the temperature falls below freezing, ice expansion can contribute to deterioration. Fortunately, our climate makes this a minor problem. While there are places here with frosts, panels are generally designed for far frostier locations.

All these factors contributing to solar panel degradation make them vulnerable to becoming less efficient over a period of time. This makes it even more crucial as a new buyer to thoroughly research your products before making your final decision to ensure your system lasts you for a longer duration with fewer issues. The Sunpower panels are a great option for premium solar panels that promises no more than a 2% decline in year one of installation followed by no more than 0.25% degradation per year. This means it should have at least 92% of its nominal capacity even after 25 years. This proves that although installing premium solar panels may require a higher upfront investment, the returns they provide are definitely worth their higher price tag.

Generally speaking, most solar panels should exceed their performance warranties. Solar panel manufacturers really don’t like spending money to replace panels that fail to meet their performance warranties. There are many dodgy manufacturers who produce cheap quality solar panels with unreliable warranties.

More trustworthy manufacturers who have warranties that actually mean something will still want to pay out as little as possible. Because of this the minimum performance they warrant is below where they expect the large majority of their panels to be at any point during the warranty period. For this reason we can expect premium solar panels to comparatively exceed their performance warranties by a reasonable amount.

Contact One solar today for a free quote on a premium solar panel system and begin your savings.

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