Photovotaic cells - do they wear out?

There’s been much discussion in the media lately as to renewable energy. I’ve heard it said twice now that solar cells cost more energy to manufacture than they’ll ever produce. For this to be true they would have to stop working before they ever move “into the black” so to speak. Otherwise, even if it took a millennium, they would eventually produce “free” energy.

Solar cells have to be replaced after about 20 or 30 years. They won’t last a millenium.

They do break down; major factors are exposure to heat and UV radiation (unavoidable, considering the circumstances). Call it 20 years for a standard silicon cell.

Do you guys have any studies to point to? When these discussions come up I have always used 30 years as the time span to look into financial feasibility. But this is mostly a number pulled out of my ass for actuarial reasons. 30 years being an upper end of time span where people might reasonably want payback for there investment.

From my experience with solar calculators, a brand-new calculator can be used whenever there’s enough light to read the display, but for an old calculator, you have to hold it right up to the desk lamp to get anything out of it. I can’t imagine what else would cause this, besides degradation of the solar cell.

Maybe it was DOR pollution. :wink: