Why Do Solar Panels Degrade?
Solar panels have gained popularity and received increased media attention in recent years, but they are not a perfect solution. They are not everlasting, and they can and will degrade over a set period of time. Solar panel degradation may happen in any number of different ways, which is an indicator of the vulnerability of said panels. However, in many cases, it does take decades and decades for the panels to wear out, thereby assuring a certain degree of value to the consumer. Here are some reasons as to why these panels degrade.
Think About Diffusion
One of the primary reasons for solar panel degradation is diffusion. The cells within these panels are there at only a finite temperature. As such, they obtain energy from the light, and the atoms within this structure are capable of moving around the cell. If materials from either side of the panel’s junction are somehow mixed up, then it’s possible for the whole internal field to be reduced to such an extent that charge separation simply fails to occur anymore. In short, this results in no more current output and an ineffective panel that will not work as it once did.
Think About Debris
Solar panels have to deal with the elements, which is exactly why debris and other various things are a factor in causing the degradation of your solar panels. A common mistake among people who recently switched to solar energy is believing that these panels are completely maintenance-free. While it is true that these panels don’t require a whole lot of maintenance, they are certainly not maintenance-free. Debris from the environment can be a factor in causing degradation. Some early warning signs may be the reduction of the power output of the panels. An example of debris can be something as basic as blowing leaves.
It’s the Sun!
The sun and its sunlight are the most obvious culprits that no one seems to think about when the issue of degradation of solar panels is considered. This is ironic because without the sun, these panels won’t work in the first place. Still, constant exposure from the sun will cause the panels to degrade; it’s just the nature of the beast. The sun is responsible for actually wearing out the electrical connections and also reducing the electrical emission of the photovoltaic cells. This effect can even be likened to the power of the sun in fading vibrantly colored billboards and drying out wooden docks.
These are three of the most significant reasons as to why solar panels end up degrading over time. Even though it’s impossible to stop this degradation of the panels, it has to be pointed out that the consensus is that this degradation will occur over many years. In other words, investing in panels isn’t necessarily a bad decision. Of course, in order to prolong the life of panels even more, basic maintenance should be performed fairly regularly. Take care of your panels, and they’ll reward you with a long life.