Solar power is an investment that you should protect. Solar warranties guarantee you that the manufacturer will protect your interests. It also gives assurance of a reliable energy supply. Usually, it comes in two forms. These are performance, equipment, and service. For this reason, it is essential to understand these warranties best.
The dominant information is that you receive a 25-year warranty. However, some mistakes consumers make can see them with a worthless contract. As a buyer, you need to understand how these warranties work. This is the first step before you purchase solar panels. Helpful information allows you to separate sales pitches and useless promises from genuine guarantees.
All You need to know about Solar Warranties
Solar Warranty Categories
One of the things you need to know before you transition to solar energy is the solar warranty category. Below, we are going to discuss in detail these warranties. The coverage that each provides and factors that lead to voiding the warranty. Understanding this information gives your solar energy system a longer lifespan, which is an excellent return on investment. Let’s begin.
1. Equipment Warranties
A solar panel system has various components. Each of these gadgets comes with a different manufacturer warranty. Since each element is unique, you need to go through the contracts to know what they cover. Such equipment includes:
When you install the system, you can connect it to the grid to store excess power, which gives you solar credit. However, if you are in a remote area without electricity or need to have your supply, you can store excess energy in a battery. This keeps your home with a steady source of energy. Such a backup system will have a different warranty. Currently, such warranties last 5-10 years.
Solar Panel Warranty
A solar panel warranty is there to cover any defects in the product and durability issues. The manufacturer provides this warranty. Generally, solar panels last more than two decades. However, in rare cases, they have been known to fail due to corrosion or wiring mistakes. In case this happens, the equipment warranty guarantees the product is replaced without extra charges. Premium panels will give you a guarantee of 25 years, but you can find panels with a warranty of 10 -15 years.
Experts say this is the most crucial warranty to have. The main reason being this is an essential component of the system, and it is likely to fail. The system works night and day at a high voltage. The inverter transforms electricity produced by the panel from direct current to alternating current, the standard used in homes. Though they are known to be hardy, the solar panels usually outlive them. A sturdy inverter has a 10-15-year lifespan, and the manufacturers give a guarantee of 5-10 years. Like in any field, the warranty is more extended for the premium inverters.
2. Performance Warranties
A performance warranty assures that the panels will produce the estimated capacity at each timeline of their lifetime. The production capacity of solar panels reduces over time. It is estimated that they lose 10–30% of their original value of production. This loss is slow, and it happens at a percentage of less than 0.5-1% annually. Such loss is predictable, allowing manufacturers to make allowances and set performance benchmarks for each year.
The manufacturers promise that the panels will maintain a certain percentage throughout the lifetime. This practice ensures you can get a replacement or repairs if your PV modules fall below the indicated mark.
One way you can identify inferior products is if the manufacturers do not offer an extended production warranty. They indicate a manufacturer’s quality of service and products. Additionally, they point to the support structure available for you should a problem occur.
3. Service Warranty
You may think it’s enough you have performance and equipment warranties. This is not the case. Remember, you can still be liable for errors arising from installation. Such errors include faulty connections, a damaged roof, or other emerging issues. For this, you still need to go a step further and obtain service warranties.
Vetting the installers to confirm they have the necessary certifications is one of the best ways to approach this. Such professionals provide the best services. On top of that, they should offer a service warranty for each installation. The purpose of the contract is to cover you for any damages or maintenance issues that may be needed.
They give guarantees to ensure the correct solar panel system installation. This assures you the product will work as intended. The coverage extends to installer error as well as repairs or losses arising from it. Service warranties are the best markers for qualified and skilled installers.
Voiding a warranty is the last thing that you want. However, if your system is mismanaged, it is easy for this to happen. The contracts are only valid when you have a well-maintained system. Some damages can permanently void your long-standing warranty.
Examples of such damages include those that occur when you try to repair the system by yourself. You should avoid any modifications. Do you have trees and foliage falling on your roof near the panels? Any damage that can result from the fallen trees voids the warranty. You need to ensure you keep any debris or trees away from the panel system to keep it protected.
It is advisable to go back to the first installer to check for any repairs or maintenance needed. Changing an installer can nullify your standing warranties. It also voids the service warranty with the first installer as they cannot be responsible for damages brought by the second crew.
Proper sizing of the inverter’s voltage is crucial. If the solar panels send a high voltage to the inverter, it may lead to damages. The warranty does not cover such damages as you are considered to be at fault.
Also, if you are a fan of walking on the roof, you may need to watch the solar panels as you do so. You can void the warranty if you step on the panels as you walk on the roof.
With an investment such as this, you can never have too many covers. When it comes to solar panels, you can check with your home insurance agent to see their provisions and the available coverage. Most insurance companies are willing to adjust their policies to include coverage for solar panels. Typically, such insurance cover water, fire, snow, and ice damages, falling objects, theft and vandalism, and many others.
If a tree falls on your roof, damaging the solar panels, having such insurance helps to ease the cost of repairs for you. Once you switch to solar, ensure the additional equipment are included in your homeowner’s policy.
Are Solar Warranties Transferable?
If you already installed a solar system and have found a buyer for your home, you can transfer the warranties in some cases. However, some companies strictly provide warranties to the original buyer. If you are yet to purchase the system, you can ask a supplier this question before purchase. This is if you have thought about selling your home in the future.
For a smooth warranty transfer, you need to contact the system’s manufacturer before listing the home to inform them of your intentions. Buyers are keen on details such as warranty transfer and lease agreements. To ease the buyers’ transfer process, ensure they are aware if the home sale depends on the solar lease transfer and warranty agreements.
While making the sale, you sign these agreements alongside the manufacturer, who runs a separate credit check on the new buyers. If this fails, you can include the cost when selling the home. Alternatively, you can physically move the system to your new home.
Warranties effectively increase your trust and confidence in a product. Businesses also protect their reputation by issuing warranties to consumers. A solar system is a valuable and long term investment that you put up in your home. For this reason, you need to protect it. By understanding all the warranties the solar system attracts before making a purchase, you are prepared for any possible outcome.
One way you can evaluate if a warranty is suitable for you is by checking the validity period. However, this changes depending on the brand and the price. It is vital to ensure that all the components of the solar system are covered. Such include batteries, panels, and most importantly, the inverters.
Once all those sections are covered, you need to get a warranty from the installers. With this, you are protected from faulty installation or any damage that can arise as they install the system.
Voiding the warranties is unfortunate, and it can be costly. Be sure to avoid any actions that can result in this. Such include making repairs or not sizing the inverters. Trimming the trees near the roof can also prevent voiding the warranty.
Dynamic SLR offers extensive warranties for solar products and services. Get in touch with us today and we help you to go solar.