As indicated in a study Josh wrote on just a couple weeks ago, the lifespan of a solar power system is far longer than the 20 years most analysts use to calculate solar power costs. Last November, Susan featured one that was going strong at 30 years. A Facebook fan notes thatsolar panels at the Technical University of Berlin have been in operation for 31 years. Similarly, Kyocera, one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers in the world, recently posted on the fact that a number of its early installations continue to generate electricity reliably nearly 30 years after installation.
I would also note that technology has improved, solar panels have become more durable, and if early solar panels produce electricity for far more than 20 (or even 25) years, what to expect of today’s solar panels?!
Here are a few case studies Kyocera highlighted in its recent article on the matter:
In 1984, Sweden’s first grid-connected photovoltaic system was built in Stockholm. Since its installation, the façade-mounted 2.1kW system has been continuously and reliably providing the residents of an apartment building with environmentally-friendly electricity. The modules’ average annual power generation performance is still reliable — with no significant change since the system was installed 27 years ago.
Also in 1984, Kyocera established its Sakura Solar Energy Center just outside of Tokyo. At the time, the Center was equipped with a 43kW solar power generating system which to this day continues to generate a stable amount of power for the facility.
In 1985, Kyocera made a donation of a 10kW solar power generation system to a small farming village with no electrical infrastructure located at an elevation of 2,600m (8,500ft) in Gansu Province, China. In 1993, the area received electrical infrastructure, and the solar modules were moved to a regional research facility for clean energy, where after more than 25 years, they are still producing consistent levels of electricity.