Choose An Industry Leading Solar Panel Warranty
A home solar system is a costly investment. A big factor in your purchasing decision should be the solar panel warranty.
Solar panels are made to be durable and withstand extreme weather. They are built to withstand the elements: winds, snow, hot dry summers, hard rainfall, and freezing winters. However, there are always exceptions and some panels may be faulty. This is where your warranty can make all the difference.
The Importance of a Solar Warranty
Solar panel purchases are a big upfront expense with the promise of long term savings. solar panels generate energy and cut the cost of your electricity bill. But if you happen to get a faulty panel and it stops generating the expected energy promised at purchase then your savings can dwindle.
Your warranty is a guarantee your system will work and generate the energy you bought it for. All too often people fail to overlook the solar panel brand and accompanying warranty. Don’t fall into this category, make sure you select an industry-leading brand!
Types of Solar Panel Warranties
There are different types of solar panel warranties. The two most common warranties are a Product Warranty and a Performance Warranty.
- Solar Panel Performance Warranty
Technology is a wonderful thing but like any technology product, it will degrade over time. A performance warranty will guarantee the expected production of the solar panels. Solar panels lose efficiency at a pretty reliable rate. A typical solar panel will lose about 0.6-0.8% efficiency each year. This means your solar panels will not be able to generate the same amount of energy as they did brand new.
A performance warranty may guarantee 90% performance for 10 years and 80% performance for 25 years. While two warranties may guarantee the same performance over time. You should definitely factor in the max efficiency rate of the panels as they may differ substantially depending on the brand. One brand may have a ME rate of 22% while another brand’s ME is 17%.
How do you determine when you need to use your Performance Warranty?
When checking your energy production, if you are producing dramatically less energy suddenly than there is probably an issue with the solar panel materials. If you’re generating less energy than you were at a steadier rate, call your solar installation company to assess your panels. If your performance is not meeting the solar panel warranty guarantee, the manufacture should replace your panels. Some companies will cover shipping and replacement costs under your panel warranty.
- Solar Panel Product Warranty
The panel product warranty is also referred to as the material warranty. It covers the material in the event something is faulty. For example, faulty wiring (caused by manufacturing defect), corrosion from water and sun exposure, premature wear and tear, and issues caused by elements would be covered under this form of warranty.
A typical product warranty is for 10 years. If you purchase your panels from a reputable company like SunPower you will get a 25 year Product warranty. A long warranty demonstrates confidence in craftsmanship. A long warranty, backed by a reputable brand is a great investment in the long run.
How do you determine when you need to use your Product Warranty?
You should contact your solar panel installation company if you notice some of your panels are not working. After an assessment, if your panels are determined faulty, your next step is to contact the manufacture. Your manufacturer should cover the shipping and installation costs along with the new solar panels.
There are two other warranties to consider: Inverter and Battery Warranties.
An inverter warranty is typically shorter than that of solar panels. An inverter is one of the main components in the Solar System; it converts the generated energy into usable energy for your home. It doesn’t last as long as the panels and you can expect to replace it at least once in the life span of your solar panels. The average warranty for your inverter is 5-10 years.
A solar battery warranty has the same life span as an inverter: 5-10 years. The expected life for a battery is 15 years. A solar battery is used to store extra energy that was generated to use at a later time, like night time or peak times.
Voiding Your Warranty
When you receive your paperwork for your solar panels and Warranty it is best to read all the information and care instructions. Read all the fine print.
An example of something that will void your warranty is having an unlicensed worker repair your system or if you do not upkeep the surrounding environment to protect the solar panels like keeping trees trimmed.
Make sure a licensed installer comes out to look at or repair your system. This will ensure the life span of your warranty and your system.
The best warranty on the market becomes meaningless when voided: beware!
If you have any questions about panel warranties or solar in general, give us a call at 951-678-7733 to speak with one of our knowledgeable energy experts.