Are Portable Solar Panels Durable? how do they degrade!

One thing that has gone popular lately is the advent of solar panels for stuff like hiking, solar panels for charging things like small battery banks or your cell phone. 10W, 20W, or 100W panels that claimed to be able to charge devices. That sounds pretty cool, but the real question is-are portable solar panels durable?

In reality, solar panels are incredibly durable. Most manufacturers test their solar-panels to affirm that they can withstand strong winds, extreme heat plus, substantial snow loads. Many solar panels have been equipped to guarantee that they can withstand falling hail.

So are Portable Solar Panels Durable? Most portable solar panels come with either one to five years warranty, but you can realistically expect your system to last between 3 to 25 years, if not more, which is a testimony of durability.

Most portable solar manufacturers show you on their spec sheet that their panels will degrade about half a percent each year. For more on this, check out our post Do Solar Panels Expire? What Life Span To Expect!

On a side note! If you’re in need of a reliable and high-performance portable solar panel, We strongly recommend the Jackery SolarSaga 100W  Portable Solar Panel  (Amazon Link).

With a high conversion efficiency and foldable design, this solar panel is easy to transport and set up, making it perfect for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and RV trips.

The US solar cell technology used in this panel ensures that you get the most efficient and reliable solar charging possible.

There is also a 60W option that is more affordable (Amazon Link)

This life expectancy rating is typically 80% of the distributed rating of the solar panel. This rating will fluctuate from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Also check out our post on Can Portable Solar Panels Twist?

Portable solar panels for outdoors or mounting on vans or RVs will generally have a lot more limited life expectancy than private ones since they’re more vulnerable to harm. Most open-air portable solar panels have a life expectancy rating of 15 to 25 years, depending on the nature; of the panels and whether you keep steady over fixes and support. In any event: when solar panels do keep going for quite a while, the cells in panels will begin to corrupt over the long run.

There are so numerous factors that can impact the toughness of the portable solar panel. As with most products, they are, propelled to wear and tear over time. Here is positively not veritable amazement. We will consider each possibility and take where it counts to discover possible answers for you.


An important thing to understand when asking questions about how long does portable solar panels last is the warranty. Solar panel warranties cover physical defects, usually for periods between one to five years, depending on the brand. There is also a warranty that guarantees a certain amount of output, typically for five years.

Most portable panel warranties guarantee that their panels are operating at a minimum efficiency of 80% or more at the end of five years, which is less than a one percent decrease in efficiency every year.

For instance: if you buy a 50W Goal Zero Nomad foldable Monocrystalline 50Watt Portable Solar Panel, which has a warranty of one year, you can expect them to be producing at least 40 to 45 Watts after one year.

Even when the warranty lapses, your system is still generating 80% of its original output, and there is no reason you cannot continue using that power after the warranty expires.

Often, you can offset the decrease in efficiency by adding an extra panel to your panel.

Best Portable Solar Panels today

A line Set-Up Of Solar Panels @ 45 Degrees Towards The Sun

The best portable solar panels in the market today are very durable, having warranties that even extends to 2 years. The following table shows a couple of the best ones in the market.

NameManufacturerWeight (kg)Watt (W)Price ($)Warranty
Goal Zero Nomad 50 Foldable MonocrystallineGoal Zero3.1kg50W$416.0712 Months
Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar PanelJackery1.2kg60W$179.9924 Months
Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar PanelRockpals4.5kg100W$214.1924 Months
Goal Zero Boulder Briefcase Solar PanelGoal Zero11.7kg100W$395.8124 Months
TP-Solar 100W Foldable Solar PanelTP-Solar2.4kg60W$229.9924 Months
Table Identifying Few Of The Best Portable Solar Panels (2021)

Why Do Portable Solar Panels Degrade

As with any other product, all tech products are expected-to degrade over some time. A crystalline silicon solar panel may encounter a higher rate of degradation when exposed to harsh weather conditions over time.

For instance, a portable solar panel exposed to continuous heavy rainfall, sunlight, and extreme heat over time will lose its efficiency and effectiveness. On the other hand, portable solar panels will have a minimum degradation rate if exposed to favorable climates.

Also, since portable solar panels are moveable, they are expected to degrade over time due to vibration. A portable-solar panel’s durability depends on how the owner operates it.

A minimum degradation rate means a high chance that the portable solar panel will continue to produce more energy over its lifetime. The durability of each portable-solar panel varies from one brand to another; higher-quality panels degrade much slower than low-quality panels. Such is crucial to keep in mind when comparing portable solar panels for their durability.

For more on this in-depth, check out our post Do Solar Panels Degrade Over Time? Why, How & By How Much!

Factors Affecting the Efficiency and Performance of Portable Solar Panel


Similar to standard residential solar panels, portable solar panels are durable. Some have warranties that last for 2 to 3 years. Besides, maximizing the amount of sunlight to turn into electrical power requires a portable panel that is clean and free from moisture and dirt. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the panels can help reduce the degradation rate. Thus, absorbing sunlight more efficiently.

For more on this, check out “Do Solar Roof Panels Require Maintenance? What You Need To Know!

Solar Shadings

Solar shading is one of the factors that need to be understood when exposing your panels to sunlight. A portable-solar panel’s capability to deliver energy may result in power losses or lower output due to total or partial shading.

There is a flow of energy within the PV cells of a portable solar panel. The cells are aligned in a series to absorb higher voltage and also an efficient output of electricity. Limitations usually occur when there is partial or total shading.

In reality, the current within a portable solar panel is determined; by the cell unit that produces the least-current. When a solar cell is not exposed; to sunlight, the entire current circulation is affected.

All the cells are connected. They are sensitive to the amount of current that is related to the cell that has shaded.


Soiling refers to the soil, dust, and other trash settling the outside covering of the panels.

The ability of a panel decreases when specks of dust gather on its surface. Soiling usually happens in regions presented to extensive stretches of dry seasons. Also, soiling can accumulate on your versatile panel boards in regions-presented to building construction, etc.

To get the most convenient power output requires nonstop cleaning the outside of the panels routinely. Doing so keeps the boards spotless and pleasant looking.


Solar Panel Exposed To Extreme Weather Condition

Did you know that solar panels are less efficient when the cells are warmer? Yes, they do. It is one of those interesting facts that many did not understand. It is somehow surprising.

Here is an example to simplify the above statement. Imagine walking through air and water in a swimming pool. You will find that you move efficiently through the air compared to walking through water. That is because of the resistance.

The same applies to the electrons within the cells within a portable solar panel. The more heat the cells are exposed to, the slower the electrons move, and the more the resistance there is.

There is less energy produced since not many electrons can go through the circuitry in the same measure of time as before. It is where quality does matter.

In general: portable solar panels of low quality produce less energy and lose efficiency. Hence, solar-panels of high quality are-designed to maintain and absorb energy in extreme heat.

How to increase the lifespan of portable solar panels

Portable Solar Inspected for Dirt & Faults

Regular Checks

Regular checks to identify potential problems and defects are one of the main components. It saves time and money and also avoiding minimal damages from becoming more expensive.

During the inspection process, always have an eye for cracks, exposed wirings, and possible panel damages.

Keeping the panel clean at all time

Having the panels cleaned will help prevent further damages. Be sure to keep the cells clear from debris and dust. For locations situated around and between forests, be sure there is no shading and avoid leaves accumulating around the edges and surfaces.

Backup battery

Having a backup battery is very important since it reduces the load of your portable solar panels.

Setting the panels at the right angles

For best performance, position the panels at a right angle towards the sun’s ray. In other words, select an angle that gives the solar-panel the maximum exposure to sunlight.

Bottom Line

There is a lot of equipment that goes into a system. So effectively, you need to consider the individual parts and how long they are going to last. The first and most common is the solar panels.

Generally, portable solar-panels are going to last longer than 25 years. At some point, there is a situation where it will be more cost-effective to replace them.

In reality, solar panels are incredibly durable. Most manufacturers test their solar-panels to affirm that they can withstand strong winds, extreme heat plus, substantial snow loads. Many solar panels have been equipped to guarantee that they can withstand falling hail.

Moreover, many portable solar panels come with either one to five years warranty, but you can realistically expect your system to last 25 years, if not more. Most portable solar manufacturers show you on their spec sheet that their panel will degrade about half a percent each year.


I am a very well-experienced techie civil engineer who’s extensively interested in solar panel technology and even more captivated by the potential of solar panels in supporting individual residential units.

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