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Useful Life

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The table below gives ranges on useful life of several technologies estimated by interviewing NREL experts who have been working with the technologies and also by performing a literature search. Limited information on actual lifetime studies was found. The bulk of the literature referenced included an assumed useful life for a given technology. These numbers are useful since they provide conventional thinking of experts in each field; it is important to understand that they do not include lifetime statistical data of actual projects.

Use the tabs below to navigate the charts. The LCOE tab provides a simple calculator for both utility-scale and DG technologies that compares the combination of capital costs, O&M, performance, and fuel costs.

If you are seeking utility-scale technology cost and performance estimates, please visit the Transparent Cost Database website for NREL's information regarding vehicles, biofuels, and electricity generation.

Capital Cost
(September 2013 Update)
Operations & Maintenance
(September 2013 Update)
Utility-Scale Capacity Factors Useful Life Land Use by System Technology LCOE Calculator
Useful Life
System Useful Life Years
Photovoltaics 25 to 40 yr
Wind 20 yr
Biomass Combined Heat and Power 20 to 30 yr
Biomass Heat 20 to 30 yr
Solar Water Heat 10 to 25 yr
Solar Vent Preheat 30 to 40 yr
Ground Source Heat Pump 20 yr for interior components
100 yr for ground loop