Good question, Paige. The lifetime of anything is quite important, because it factors into how practical it is. For example, if your 500 dollar lap top only lasted for 6 months, you would certainly think twice about your purchase. Solar panel’s lifespans are especially important, because they can be a costly investment. One particular study that was published in the Inderscience International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management(whew, what a name!), concluded that installing solar panels on your home may not be a costly investment because their lifespans are not long enough to produce enough electricity to offset their cost. If the technology was improved and panels lasted for hundreds of years, then this would be a non-issue. I am sure there are exceptions to this example, but it highlights the importance of panel lifespans nicely.
Hope this helps!
Yes. Lifetime of a typical solar panels currently is around 30 years. Large scale implementation of these are financially sustainable but when it comes down to individual investments they might not return the investment in their lifetime. But this depends on several factors such as efficiency of the panel and weather, initial installation costs and so on. Renewable energy is on a large scale is beginning to be comparable to fossil fuels nowadays.
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