The TISO-10-kW solar plant, connected to the grid in 1982, is the oldest installation of this kind in Europe. Its history is well documented, and the full set of modules has been tested indoors at regular intervals over the years. After 35 years of operation, we observe an increase in the degradation rates and that the distributions of modules' performances are drastically changing compared with previous years. Two groups of modules can be observed: (a) group 1: 21.5% of the modules show a very modest degradation, described by a Gaussian distribution with mean yearly power degradation of only -0.2%/y. (b) Group 2: 72.9% of the modules form a negatively skewed distribution with a long tail described by mode (-0.54%/y), median (-0.62%/y), and mean (-0.69%/y) values. In earlier years, decreases in performances could strongly be correlated to losses in fill factor (FF). After 35 years, the situation changes and, for a subset of modules, losses in the current (Isc) are superimposed to losses in FF. The reasons for this will become clearer in part 2, where we will present results of a detailed visual inspection on the whole set of modules and will focus on safety aspect too. We conclude that, after 35 years of operation in a temperate climate, approximately 60% (similar to 70% if considering a +/- 3% measurement uncertainty) of the modules would still satisfy a warranty criteria that module manufacturers are presently considering to apply to the technology of tomorrow: 35 years of operation with a performance threshold set at 80% of the initial value.