Many of our customers get this question from their environmentally conscientious friends: How much energy does it take to manufacture solar panels compared to how much energy they produce?  Good question!


The Institute of Science in Society has an answer: The Institute’s life cycle analysis shows that the energy payback for polycrystalline panels (which is what Sungevity uses) is 2.2 years.  In other words, after 2.2 years, the power generated by the panels exceeds the power used to manufacture them. The panels have a lifespan of at least 25 years which means 23 years of clean, green energy on your roof. That’s a fantastic energy payback by any standard and makes us doubly confident that solar is the single best way to go green.


Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.


  1. so would the electricity generated by my new sungevity panels go and why isn’t it reducingmy usage from the grid? If it goes back into the grid, who is getting paid for it?

  2. Hi David.
    The electricity that your panels create _does_ go into the grid, which is why you don’t need a battery; the grid acts as a make-shift battery. If your system generates more electricity than you need at any given time then the excess feeds into the grid, but your utility pays you for it. After the sun goes down and your system isn’t generating electricity then you buy electricity back from the grid.

    Although this explanation might sound complex, it’s actually a completely seamless process. Additionally, if you’re on a time of use (TOU) plan then you will be selling electricity to the utility when it’s expensive (during the afternoon) and buying it back when it’s cheap (night).

    Let me know if you need any additional information or if you would like a few informational links.

Comments are closed.