Understanding Degradation and the Lifespan of Solar Panels  

lifespan of solar panels

When people make a major purchase—whether it’s a car, computer, or refrigerator—they hope that it won’t need to be replaced anytime soon. Fortunately, home and business owners who are considering installing solar panels can rest assured that, while their panels won’t last forever, they are built to offer several decades of reliable electricity production. Here’s what you need to know about the lifespan of solar panels before deciding whether to install a solar energy system.

What Is the Lifespan of Solar Panels?

As with any piece of technology, the lifespan of a solar panel depends on a variety of factors, including climate and the quality of the installation. Generally speaking, you can expect solar panels to continue to produce an acceptable level of electricity for 30 to 35 years. The panels are at their peak performance and are usually covered by a warranty during this timeframe, but they could be operational long past their 30th birthday. However, over time, the performance level of the panels will deteriorate, resulting in reduced electricity production.

What Causes Solar Panels to Degrade?

Solar panel degradation is the gradual loss of a panel’s ability to capture solar energy. This process is inevitable and usually occurs at a rate of around 0.5% per year. Initial light exposure when panels are first installed causes a slight degradation, and exposure to the elements affects panels as they age. Some factors can also accelerate solar panel degradation, including:

  • Damp heat: Exposure to high humidity rates combined with high temperatures may cause panel degradation.
  • Temperature fluctuations: Solar panels are designed to work in any climate, but sudden shifts between extremely hot and cold temperatures can affect panel components.
  • Debris: Falling debris, such as tree branches during a hurricane or tornado, can damage the surface of solar panels.
  • Poor installation: If an installer fails to place panels at the proper angles or securely clamp them, they could experience unnecessary damage.

The degradation rate of solar panels also depends on the quality of the materials used to construct them. Some manufacturers might use lower-quality components, including glass, aluminum, and solar cells, in an effort to keep costs low. The cost of solar panels in general has gone down, so there’s no need to sacrifice quality and risk faster degradation.

Is It Possible to Extend the Life of Solar Panels?

Although it’s impossible to grant your solar panels eternal life, a little extra attention from time to time will help keep them producing ample electricity for as long as possible. These simple steps can help maximize your solar panel life expectancy:

  • Monitor the performance level of your panels.
  • Avoid allowing a heavy blanket of snow to sit on your panels for a long period of time.
  • Keep the panels clear of dirt and debris, such as leaves.
  • If you suspect there’s a problem, have a professional check your panels rather than try to repair them yourself, which could void the warranty.

In addition to this ongoing maintenance, keep in mind that achieving the longest possible solar panel lifespan begins with the initial installation. Choose reputable, experienced installers who know how to properly place and secure solar panels.

How Long Do Solar Panel Batteries Last?

Although solar panels are likely to keep producing electricity for 25 years or longer, a solar battery may require earlier replacement. Some batteries fail in as few as five years, while others match the life of solar panels. Other components, such as solar inverters, may also have shorter lifespans.

What Happens at the End of a Solar Panel’s Lifespan?

As long as you’re satisfied with the amount of electricity that a solar panel produces, you can keep it in place long after the end of its useful life. When you feel like the production ability of your solar panels no longer matches your expectations and needs, you can retire and replace them knowing that you got a great return on your investment. The installers for your new panels will provide details about the disposal of the old ones.

Choose Quality Solar Panels with Bright Eye Solar

For more than a decade, Bright Eye Solar has provided residential and commercial solar services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Our top priority is ensuring that you find a solar panel system that will serve you for years to come. Reach out to get a free quote or to consult with our team of experts about which panels offer the longest-lasting electricity production for your home or business.

What Is The Inflation Reduction Act?

SAVE MONEY WITH BRIGHT EYE SOLAR PANELS IN PENNSYLVANIA, DELAWARE, NEW JERSEY

There’s been a lot of news coverage about the new Inflation Reduction Act and its implications. Pundits at every news network are already unpacking their opinions and projections on its long-term impact. For many Americans, however, the opinion-based coverage of the Act is their first exposure to it, so let’s back up.

What Is The Inflation Reduction Act?

The Inflation Reduction Act is a Democrat-backed piece of legislation. After passing in both the House and the Senate, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was officially signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022. This act is focused on national deficit reduction as a means to combat inflation, but its sweeping scope covers much more than just taxes. It also includes substantial provisions for clean energy initiatives and domestic energy production as well as measures to lower the costs of prescription medications.

Why Does The Inflation Reduction Act Matter?

The importance of the Inflation Reduction Act is multifaceted. One item of significance is the more than $300 billion allocated toward paying off the national debt, which is a historic sum. Never before has the U.S. government dedicated such a large amount of money toward paying down the national deficit.

The Inflation Reduction Act is also important as a victory for the interests of the people over those of special interest groups and lobbyists, such as the pharmaceutical companies that campaigned against the bill’s passing. Lifesaving medications will be substantially more affordable for average Americans as a result of this bill, including Insulin, which Medicare will now cap at $35 per month.

The majority of buzz around the Inflation Reduction Act, however, and what most people consider to be the Act’s greatest point of significance is its approximately $389 billion investment in energy security and climate change. One of the Act’s core objectives is to lower national carbon emissions by roughly 40% before 2030. To accomplish this, the Inflation Reduction Act is investing in pollution cleanup programs, expanding renewable energy infrastructure, and funding tax credit programs that favor electric vehicles and energy-efficient homes.

The Tax Credit Programs in the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act establishes funding and provisions for two primary tax credit programs designed to encourage Americans to utilize clean and renewable energy.

The EV Tax Credit

The EV tax credit offers $7,500 to taxpayers who report the purchase of a qualifying electric vehicle. In essence, at the end of the tax year, the government pays you back $7,500 for buying an electric vehicle. While similar credits have been available since 2010, the Inflation Reduction Act has introduced some new parameters for the program, which will take effect in phases.

The Solar Tax Credit

The federal Incentive Tax Credit is a program that offers a tax credit, similar to a rebate, to homeowners who install solar panels and systems to power their homes. Per previous legislation, the credit amount decreased annually and was set to end after 2023. Until the Act’s passing, homeowners who installed solar panels in 2022 would be eligible for a 26% credit, homeowners who installed solar panels in 2023 would be eligible for a 22% credit, and homeowners who installed solar panels in any year thereafter would not receive a credit for any sum.

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, however, the ITC has been extended for another decade. Not only has it been extended, but the amount homeowners will be credited is increasing to 30%. This provision in the new legislation makes solar energy more accessible and affordable to the average American homeowner by offering them 30% of the cost of their solar system credited back at the end of the tax year.

Take Advantage of the Tax Credit Programs

Bright Eye Solar is an established solar panel installation company based out of Lancaster, PA. Our team of solar experts provides solar installation, energy audits, and related services to homeowners throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. To learn more about our offerings, you can contact us today.

4 Reasons Solar Energy is More Accessible Than You Think

4 Reasons Solar Energy Is More Accessible Than You Think

Installing solar panels is something many homeowners dream of being able to do, but don’t expect to ever be able to accomplish. Common misconceptions about things like financing and necessary climate conditions keep environmentally-conscious homeowners from pursuing solar panel installation. The truth is that powering your home with solar energy is probably way more accessible than you think—here’s why.

The Cost of Solar Panels Has Gone Down

While it’s true that in the past, the exorbitant expense of purchasing and installing solar panels on your roof made solar power a luxury reserved only for the wealthy, that’s no longer the case. Despite the fact that the cost of solar panels has gone down by as much as 70% in the last decade, many people still think of solar panels as much more expensive than they really are. In reality, a solar system that would have cost $40,000 as recently as 2010 came in at $18,000 in 2020. $18,000 is, of course, still very expensive, but not all systems cost that much. Depending on the type of solar panels you choose, the cost can be lower, such as with thin film solar panels.

There are Solar Financing Assistance Programs

Even if your home’s energy needs require an $18,000 system, it’s very likely that you won’t have to pay that full amount thanks to the various solar financing options and incentive programs that exist on federal, state, and local levels. The federal ITC offers a 26% tax credit to homeowners who install solar panels; that means that whatever you pay for your solar panels, the federal government will pay you back for 26% of the cost. For an $18,000 system, that means you get $4,680 back.

States and cities throughout the United States also have their own programs, such as the City of Philadelphia Solar Rebate or the High Performance Dwelling Property Tax Credit in Maryland. Additionally, there are a number of private sector companies and organizations that offer solar financing assistance to low and middle income homeowners. Your local solar company will be able to help you navigate the various assistance programs that are available to you.

You Don’t Have to Live in the Sunshine State

A common misconception about solar panels is that they’re only worthwhile for homeowners in sunny states like Florida, Arizona, or Hawaii. In fact, some types of solar panels are less efficient at producing energy in extreme heat conditions. While not every locale is an ideal locale for solar energy, far more places are viable candidates for solar than you might think. Even wintry Northeastern states like New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania have thriving solar industries. Residents in these and other less obvious states can still achieve substantial energy savings and make a positive environmental impact by installing solar systems in their homes.

There are Solar Experts Available to Help

At Bright Eye Solar, we offer energy audits that allow homeowners to determine the best ways to make their homes more energy efficient for financial and ecological savings. We’ll tell you honestly whether your home is a good candidate for solar energy and provide you with recommendations to help you achieve energy savings regardless of whether you ultimately switch to solar or not. To learn more about how we can help you access solar energy and achieve optimal energy efficiency, you can contact our team today.

The Cost of Utilities Increase in PA

power lines and electricity

Was your most recent electric bill more expensive than usual? There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just the normal summer months spike caused by increased AC use. The state of Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission recently announced that, as of June 1st, utility costs would be rising statewide. Here’s what you need to know about this utilities increase.

How Much Are Electric Costs Rising?

Different electric utility companies service different parts of the state and each company is responsible for its own pricing model. This means that the amount by which your utilities increase depends on who your service provider is. The state’s Public Utility Commission provided a wide range, saying that price increases will range from a 6% increase to a 45% increase.

Here’s the full list of Pennsylvania electric companies and their respective price increases as provided by the Commission:

  • Citizens’ Electric, up from 7.3995 cents to 9.3667 cents per kWh (26.6%)
  • Duquesne Light, up from 7.98 cents to an estimated 9.36 cents per kWh (17.3%)
  • Met-Ed, up from 6.832 cents to 7.936 cents per kWh (16.1%)
  • PECO, up from 7.066 cents to 7.637 cents per kWh (8.1%)
  • Penelec, up from 6.232 cents to 8.443 cents per kWh (35.4%)
  • Penn Power, up from 7.082 cents to 8.694 cents per kWh (22.7%)
  • PPL, up from 8.941 cents to 12.366 cents per kWh (38.3%)
  • UGI Electric, up from 8.854 cents to 12.903 cents per kWh (45.7%)
  • Wellsboro Electric, up from 7.7569 cents to 9.592 cents per kWh (23.7%)
  • West Penn Power, up from 5.667 cents to 8.198 cents per kWh (44.6%)

Why Are Electric Costs in Pennsylvania Going Up?

The short answer to this question is that the cost of natural gas has increased. Because natural gas produces approximately half of the state’s electricity, utility companies are raising their rates to match. The reason these prices have soared to a 14-year high is that the available supply of natural gas has decreased; per the principles of supply and demand, rarer commodities require a greater barrier to entry in the form of a higher price tag.

Will Prices Go Back Down Again?

It’s typical for electric companies to adjust their prices on a quarterly or biannual basis, so it’s possible that prices could start to fall in a few months. However, the shortage of natural gas isn’t expected to have been resolved by the next adjustment period. In fact, there is no real projected date by which natural gas reserves will be replenished; this means that the price spikes could linger or even increase.

What Can I Do About This?

Pennsylvania residents have a few options to address their increased utility bills.

The Standard Offer

The Standard Offer is available to Pennsylvania residents who are interested in comparing their current electric provider with a different local electric company. It allows residents to get 7% off the current price for the comparison period, which is one year long. You get access to that 7% discount for 12 billing cycles, but are not locked in and can switch at any time.

Power Switch

You can shop for a different provider on the Public Utilities Commission’s PA Power Switch website, which allows you to compare monthly rates across different electricity companies. You may find that your current electricity rates are your best option or you may elect to switch.

Install Solar Panels

Homeowners who install solar panels experience significant monthly energy savings and enjoy consistent energy costs by gaining independence from the fickle pricing structures of electricity companies. While there is an upfront cost associated with installing solar panels, the various financing options available and the long-term energy savings make solar panels a surprisingly affordable option for homeowners (and business owners).

Get in Touch With Bright Eye Solar

Bright Eye Solar is a solar company based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Our team of renewable energy experts is available for energy audits and solar installations. Contact us today for a free quote!