How Long can a Solar Thermal System Last?

Solar thermal systems can last well over 25 years. Their efficiency will drop but with proper maintenance you can keep the solar system running well.


Solar thermal systems are used to create warm water for your home using energy from the sun. These systems can be used with either flat-plate solar panels or evacuated-tube solar panels.


Solar Thermal Panels:

The two types of panels operate in different ways, and the effectiveness of them differs.

The suitability of either type depends on a number of factors individual to your project.  Within the collector (the solar thermal panel) is a non-toxic freeze proof solar fluid. The fluid is heated by the sun and then pumped around a pipe within a water tank.  This heats the water as it travels.

Once the water is heated and the solar fluid has cooled, it is pumped back to the solar collector to be warmed once again.


Solar Thermal System Lifespan:

Typically, solar thermal panels can last (in working order) for up to and beyond a lifespan of 25 years.  They can even remain functional for up to 30 years after installation.

Obviously the efficiency of the panels will reduce, but if you properly maintain and service them they should stay efficient for their projected lifespan.

Maintaining your solar thermal panels properly will ensure that your system is:

  • Running at peak efficiency
  • Running safely
  • Running cheaply
  • Generating the most renewable energy possible


Improving the Lifespan of Your Solar Thermal System:

Most solar panels (which capture the energy for your solar thermal system) come supplied with a 5-year guarantee.  However, they will continue to work well over 5x as long, if not longer.

Some good maintenance tips are:

  • Check system pressure every 1-2 years
  • Top up or replace the solar fluid every 5 years
  • Keep your panels clean
  • Fixing panels at 45˚ will aid natural washing of the system


Solar thermal systems are a great investment, they can last for over 25 years.  They will run at peak efficiency well over their payback time meaning you will continue to benefit from renewable energy and lower bills.


Image: EEC Home Improvements

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