Recent studies have provided another boost for the viability of solar energy with new, short-lived solar cells and panels becoming economically viable that do not have to last for 20 to 30 years to cover their costs. New kinds of solar cells and panels with lifetimes of 10 years now make economic sense – even for relatively large installations. Promising new solar photovoltaic technologies, previously regarded as having too short a lifetime, are finding applications for customers that want to save money on their electricity bills.
The main reason that the economics of solar energy has changed is that the cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically in recent years. Looking at the overall costs to the consumer, if all else remains the same (in terms of installation and infrastructure such as racking and solar electrical systems) it can make economic sense to replace solar panels with more efficient ones as they come onto the market while re-using the rest of the solar power system.