25 May

How Long do Solar Panels Last? – Repair Solar Panels System

Posted by Norman F

Solar Panels do not need much maintenance and are pretty reliable. As with anything exposed to the elements, they do eventually breakdown. We will detail our experience with long term solar panel ownership.

Typical Solar Panel Warranty

A reputable solar panel’s performance warranty will typically guarantee 90% power production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years. A solar panel warranty will typically guarantee 10-12 years without failing.

Our Schott panels from 2004 had this warranty: Ten Percent (10%) during the first ten (10) years and (ii) twenty percent (20%) during the first twenty (20) years, 25 year linear power warranty.

Our Experience with Solar Panel Repair and Failure

Being early pioneers, we installed 16 Schott ASE 300/50 300 Watt Solar Panels in 2004, along with 2 Sunny Boy 2500U-SBD Inverters.  They generated a ton of power and hit some road bumps after a while.

Thankfully Schott solar has kept a warranty replacement inventory, years after they stopped selling their panels.

  • 2004 Installed 16 Schott ASE 300/50 Solar Panels (4.8kW)
  • 2018 Replaced 2 Bad Schott Panels
  • 2018 One Sunny Boy 2500U Failed – Replace with Sunny Boy SMA 7.7-1SP-US-40
  • 2020 Added 12 LG LG320N1C-G4 Neon 2 panels 3.84kW
  • 2022 Replaced 1 Bad Schott Panel
  • Future ?

Our Schott panels lasted 14 years before 2 failed, 18 years before another. Eventually we will donate the Schott panels to a non-profit and replace them with a new string.

How to do diagnose a bad Solar Panel?

One day, our SMA Sunny Boy inverter showed an Error 4301, arc fault.  Previous times, we could reboot it and it would be fine.  This time, rebooting it 5 times showed that it was a real failure.  Logging into the SB7.7 showed that solar string A had a fault.

It was a challenge to find a solar repair company. Most companies will only work on their own installations. We looked through Yelp, Facebook and finally found one that could help us.  Many would not even return our call!  This was in the midst of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

solar panel j box

They went on the roof, flipped up, and measured the DC voltage coming off each panel inside the junction box.  Good ones measured about 400V DC.

Bad solar panel multimeter measurementThe bad one measured 0V DC. Take pictures of the serial number of the bad solar panel along with the reading of the multimeter.

Replacing a bad Solar Panel

We found the bad panel(s) and contacted the manufacturer.  They sent us a form, which asked for the model, serial number, proof of purchase, and photos of the bad panel, measurements, and solar system site.

It took a couple weeks to get the panel shipped to us.  Another call to the solar repair firm, and the new panel was installed.  Total repair cost was about $800 for 2 trips.  Not cheap.


Solar Power is great but the panels do not last forever.  We detailed our experience with solar panel repair and replacement.

Posted on May 25th, 2022
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