The internet. Its a double edged sword. It allows us to share information at volumes and speeds that are basically incomprehensible. It also facilitates incomprehensibly voluminous and speedy propagation of myth. The myth we cover in this episode: Do solar panels last only 8 years and then need replacement?

The myth…

Not long ago we received a comment on Facebook that indicated a seemingly-authoritative source on solar energy asserted that solar panels have approximately an eight-year longevity, after which they must be replaced. This set the Solar Mythbusters into action. To start, we recite the relevant parts of the comment thread (poster identity withheld):

Facebook commenter” My house was perfect for solar panels and the representative from a state energy program came to my house with bells and whistles when he started explaining I just looked at him like to see if what he was saying was true I did asked about the panels longevity he said about eight years then they would need to be replaced asked about recycling and he said that because it was a new business they had not thought about it but he was sure something would available for panels to work twenty four seven I would have to spend about seven thousand for battery to storage energy…

Solar Mythbuster Investigation & Response…

Since entering this industry in 2006, we have never heard of a c-Si (photovoltaic) module having an expected lifetime of less than 25 years. c-Si solar has been around since 1954 and the physics behind it are very well understood (https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200904/physicshistory.cfm), and therefore we find it surprising that the solar sales representative that spoke to you said they would need to be replaced in eight years. There are working examples of solar modules that have been in constant operation for decades, and the background science indicates they will continue to operate well into the future (albeit at a reduced efficiency – efficiency degrades at approximately 0.8% per year per this paper: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/51664.pdf).

As far as batteries are concerned, we cannot add much other than that they are not necessary for grid-tied solar installations (which is what EcoMen solar offers). In fact, we do not recommend the installation of battery systems in the NY, NJ area unless the site is specifically “off-grid.” We just don’t see how battery systems provide economic advantage to homeowners in those regions. For more, check our recent post about batteries in NJ: https://ecomensolar.com/2018/04/17/solar-battery-storage-at-home-a-hot-topic-but-is-it-ready-for-prime-time-in-nj/.

 

Solar Mythbuster Conclusion: The representative had no idea what they were talking about, and was grossly misinformed (which is an unfortunate, and frustratingly common occurrence).

 

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