Experiences from older PV systems?

Hi Folks,
I'm getting ready to have a PV solar system installed on my home. The economics of this choice work out for me because the system is reported to last 25-40 years. Does anyone have an older system >10 yrs old they can tell us about? How is the system working now, and what repairs or maintenance costs have you experienced over the lifetime of the system?



  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,207 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Experiences from older PV systems?

    First time I've heard 40 years.
    after 20 years, panels may be getting soft, and inverters may not last more than 15 years. Time will tell.

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭
    Re: Experiences from older PV systems?

    Actually panels will probably outlast anyone posting on this board. They are warranted for 25 years for Silicon panels to still produce 80% of rated power

    Data I've read and looking at my own systems suggest Silicon has no real reason to decline over time but everything thats connected to it will be replaced many times compared to the life span of Silicon Solar Panels.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Experiences from older PV systems?

    I've heard the projections (0.5% reduction per year), and I know about the warranties, but I'm hoping to find someone who can say from real-life experience that their own 20+ year old array is still working or has failed in some way. There should be people out there with panels installed during the 70s and 80s, right?

    (I want to know because a warranty won't mean much if the company offering it is no longer in business in twenty years.)

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Experiences from older PV systems?

    you will be hard pressed to find very many people who have pvs dating back that far that are still in existence today. the industry isn't very old, but it is old enough that some could be out there. pvs were very costly(yea right, but i should've said extremely costly) back then. i do have a solarex pv rated at .6amp (i think that's short circuit) costing me $300 back then that i should probably check if i can find it. it was not in the sun all of these years though as it had a pressed board backing that didn't weather well and a thick coating of clear silicon caulking instead of glass to protect the cell faces. i bought it around 1978 making it 25+ years old.
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