Why do some manufacturers make solar panel warranties difficult to claim?
When buying solar panels, one important aspect that most of you will want to understand concerns the warranty terms and conditions. However, solar panel warranty is a difficult issue – some people even call solar panel warranty the curse of the PV industry.
What is a solar panel warranty?
A solar panel has two warranties: a performance and manufacturer’s guarantee. A solar panel’s performance warranty will typically guarantee 90% production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years. A manufacturer's warranty will typically guarantee 10-12 years without failing.
A solar panel’s product warranty insurance covers the integrity of the panel itself and protects you against problems such as manufacturing defects, environmental issues, premature wear and tear etc. As with most warranties, a longer period is generally more advantageous to you, if you own your solar panel system.
Why do you need a solar panel warranty?
If you install a solar PV system for your home or business, by far your most likely scenario is that your panels will perform trouble-free for decades. But solar panel problems do occur from time to time, so if you happen to experience an issue with a solar panel after it’s been installed, it’s important for you to understand that the rest of your system will not be rendered inoperable—not by a long shot.
In some cases, solar panel insurance is covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. In those situations, separate solar panel warranties are not required. In most cases, solar installations are considered a permanent attachment to a home, just like a patio or room addition.
Even if you’re covered under a homeowner’s policy, you need to look at coverage limits and consider increasing the amount to account for the cost of the solar installation.
What does a warranty cover?
Solar panel warranties cover two areas:
A performance warranty guarantees a solar panel installation will meet or exceed a baseline electric production output over the lifetime of the panels.
Under normal conditions, solar panel output production will degrade to some degree, but it should lose no more than 10-20% over 25 years. Typically, performance drops by one-half to one percent a year. Typically, a performance warranty will guarantee 90% production for the first ten years and 80% for up to 25 years.
A solar panel product warranty is also referred to as a material or workmanship warranty. In basic terms, it covers manufacturer defects and equipment failure.
Because solar panels are so durable, most manufacturers offer 10 to 12-year product warranties. A few premium warranties will extend out as long as 25 years. In most cases, the warranty will cover the cost of replacing one or more faulty panels with a new panel for things such as faulty wiring, corrosion, and premature wear.
You need to fully understand what is covered by a warranty and for how long. Solar panels are reliable, but you don’t want to get stuck with a big repair bill you thought you could avoid, simply because you misunderstood or didn’t take the time to dig into the warranty details.
If you have any questions about solar panel installation and warranty, contact us. We’re excited to help you on your journey with solar!
With a host of government incentives and lower panels prices there is no better time than now to consider a solar installation for your home.
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