Question and Answer page

Monday, 25 February 2008

Life span of amorphous solar panels

I have just taken delivery of a 62 foot narrow boat, and very interested in the Unisolar adhesive backed panels. However on the Free Solar Energy UK web site it says 'these panels offer ease of fitting but due to being based on cheaper silicon,don't offer the same efficiences and typically need replacement every 5 years- these degrade fast.' Your comments please as I am a little confused. Paul.

That's nonsense - Unisolar offer a 20 year warranty on the power output of the panels. Why would they do that if they only had a lifetime of a few years?! I've used Unisolar panels on the roof of my own narrowboat for over 5 years and haven't noticed the slightest loss of power from them. I've found them exceptionally good value.

It is true that some of the early 'thin-film' solar panels had a significantly shorter lifespan than conventional silicon panels. But it's just not true of the current Unisolar amorphous range. I'm sure you will be very happy with them if you do go for them!

Labels:

3 Comments:

At 16 October 2008 15:53 , Anonymous Marie said...

Excellent Information
I have just had a amorphous solar panel installed on my house's roof
It is astonishing
Its being working for 4 years now and I have had no problems from it!

 
At 16 October 2008 15:54 , Anonymous Marie said...

Excellent Information
I have just had a amorphous solar panel installed on my house's roof
It is astonishing
Its being working for 4 years now and I have had no problems from it!

 
At 18 September 2009 23:07 , Blogger Mark said...

It isn't quite nonsense - it depends on the type of panel.

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells are good for decades of life - and will work well right until someone or something damages them.

The amorphous panels can keep on working for a long time - but the simple truth is that the output DOES degrade over time.

Although an amorphous panel will still be producing power in ten years time, it will NOT be anywhere near the original output level.

Unless the panel is underrated to begin with, then there is no way (irrespective of what guarantee anyone is offering) that the panel will be outputting the same power (watts) a decade or so later.

For example Unisolar have to underrate their panels by 15% to start off with - so that in as little as two months when they have degraded by 15%, they are still "on track". Then they also comment that output can decrease by another 10% due to "spectral / thermal issues".

In short 25% down on initial power from day one.

Amorphous panels are good when you need a cheap panel which is only used once in a while OR only for a few years before being replaced with something else.

Depending on where it is used (more sunlight = faster degradation), an amorphouse panels can lose around 20-25% of their rating in four months and about 50% of rated power during first year - after which,the good news is that degradation then slows right down.

Crystalline cells cost more but do not degrade like this, they also start off far more efficient and so take up a lot less space - which can be important if your application is a bit space critical.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home