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Nov 21st 2016

How Long Do Solar Cells Last? And Other Common Solar Questions

Solar CellsMany businesses today are looking for ways to embrace the shift towards sustainability. In researching your options, understandably you may have a few questions such as “How long do solar cells last?” and “How big of a PV system will I need?”

You’ve got questions? We’ve got your answers.

Let’s take a look at the common questions businesses new to solar often ask.

How Long Do Solar Cells Last?

Because the PV module, which includes the enclosed panel of PV cells, doesn’t have any moving parts, it is very reliable. If the system is designed well, installed properly and regularly maintained, you can expect it to operate for more than 20 years. Many manufacturer solar module warranties are for a lifecycle between 20 and 25 years. But depending on the quality, the installation and the maintenance, it could last you up to 30 years.

How Do I Know How Large of a Solar Cell System I’ll Need?

The size of the solar system is typically proportional to the amount of power you’re going to use; it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. The Solar engineering team at KMB will start with an energy usage analysis and review your business’ electricity bills over the past year to get an idea of your typical electricity usage measured in kilowatt hours.

In addition to your energy usage, the size of your PV system will depend on your geographic location, pollution levels and shading elements. Many people falsely believe that the bigger their solar system, the more savings they’ll generate. The key is to implement energy efficient strategies; bigger is not necessarily better.

Will My Solar Power Work on Cloudy or Rainy Days? Will Solar Panels Work at Night?

Though most effective in direct sunlight, photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power. Solar panels will even work when the light is partially blocked on a cloudy day, though the production could be reduced from 5-10 % of what they can produce on a sunny day.

Worried about the rain? It actually washes away the dust and dirt helping your panels operate more efficiently.

What about at night? Although they won’t generate power in the dark, most solar systems generate enough energy during daylight hours and stored up for you to utilize later. Even in a blackout, you’ll still have the energy available for all your business needs.

How Long Will It Take to Pay Back my Solar Cells Investment?

The initial price is based on the size of the system you’re going to need. The savings will adjust accordingly. In many cases, the payback period for your photovoltaic system investment is around five years. The internal rates of return range between 15-25%. This is dependent on a few things such as the avoided cost of energy and your initial site-specific designs.

Photovoltaic Design & Engineering Services for Business

Since no two businesses are alike, the Solar Engineering team at KMB offers customized solutions to meet your specific corporate consumption needs. With our help, you can find the solution that powers your business and boosts your bottom line, even on a cloudy day.

In a recent post, we put together a list of 20 more common questions but, if you still don’t see the answer you’re looking for, please let us know.