When shopping for a solar power system, often a good warranty is as important as good quality panels and efficient inverter. It is important to carefully consider the duration of each part of your warranty, and to familiarise yourself with a few different elements that are unique to a solar warranty.
Here, we will take you through everything you need to know, including what you need and what you don’t need in a solar warranty so that you can be a savvy solar shopper.
Why Do You Need a Solar Warranty?
A warranty is an extremely important part of any significant purchase, particularly a solar power system. As this Solar Maintenance Guide indicates, there are many components to keep track of in a solar power system (especially if you opt for storage) – meaning there are many things that can go wrong.
Unlike many other product warranties, there is often confusion around the duration of a solar warranty and what it covers. There are four types of solar warranties:
1. Product Warranty
The solar panel product warranty covers defective materials and the overall manufacturing job of the solar panels. This means that your installer (who is usually not the manufacturer) is not liable for defects covered by your product warranty, the maker/brand of the panels will be. In saying that, your installer will usually assist you with the process of claiming under this area of your warranty package.
In saying that, your installer will usually assist you with the process of claiming under this area of your warranty package. It’s important that your product warranty is at least 10 years. Additionally, there are solar warranty options that are insurance-backed, which means your insurer will cover your warranty in the event a business goes out of business.
2. Installation Warranty
Where the product warranty covers the panels themselves, the installation warranty covers the way your solar panels were installed. This is a very important warranty to ask your installer about, as they are responsible for all issues that fall under this solar warranty. It’s important to ask questions like:
– Will you be charged for a service call if you need your solar system serviced?
– Will the company help with all other warranties in terms of logistics and communication?
– Is there anything that the company will not cover that other companies do?
This is the most varied type of warranty as solar companies are able to modify it the most. One factor to remember is that companies will either use their own electricians (more common for local companies) or they may contract out (more common for companies servicing multiple areas). The installation warranty will generally be shorter if contractors have been used, which is why Australian Solar Quotes only connects you with solar installers near your selected post code.
3. Inverter Warranty
This is actually the most important solar warranty you will need, mainly because your solar inverter is the most temperamental part of your solar power system. Solar inverters work at a very high voltage at all hours of the day, making them susceptible to wear and tear.
Inverter warranties usually last five years with upgrades to 10 years available at an extra cost with some companies. Selecting a good inverter will guarantee a lower need to use your inverter warranty. Find more information on which inverter to select here.
4. Performance Warranty
When a solar company refers to a ’25 year warranty’, they are guaranteed to be talking about the performance warranty only. Any other solar warranty will be within the five to 10 year time frame. The performance warranty refers to the efficiency of your solar panels over time, and covers any deterioration outside the projected degradation set by the manufacturer.
An example of the usual degradation rate is 10 percent after the first 10 years and another 10 percent after the following 15 years. If performance is lower than this rate then the warranty will cover the costs.