Not All Warranties are Created Equal | Rooftop Solar

As you’ve looked into solar for your home you’ve certainly heard a lot about warranties. One of the great facets of solar is that there are generally very good warranties that come along with such a long-lasting product. That said, there are some very important ideas to keep in mind as you consider differing solar companies.

 

Solar Module Warranties

There are two types of module warranties for solar panels. One type guarantees the equipment and the other guarantees the production of energy over a given period of time. To learn more about the best-performing solar panels, please refer to our blog, and to learn more about solar panel warranties, please refer to Energy Sage.

  • Equipment warranties
    • “Equipment” or “product” warranty refers to the actual physical modules and any potential damage that may occur. 
    • These warranties insure against defects in the manufacturing of the panels, severe weather conditions, and premature wearing of the equipment.
    • Typically, product warranties guarantee about 10-12 years of the solar module operating without issues.
  • Energy Production warranties
    • “Energy Production” refers to the amount of energy the panels will produce over the life of the module. This takes into account the rate at which the modules will lose efficiency yearly. This is called the “degradation rate,” and every quality installer accounts for this in their designs. 
    • These warranties typically last for 25 years and guarantee at least 90% production for the first ten years and 80% at 25 years.

 

Inverter Warranties

    • Inverter issues account for the vast majority of service calls and warranty claims in the solar industry. 
    • There are two types of inverters, central or string inverters and microinverters. A central inverter is a singular inverter connected to multiple panels whereas a system with microinverters will have a 1:1 ratio. Microinverters typically have less wear over time because there is less strain on them as they are only connected to one panel. If you are interested in learning more about the difference in inverters, please refer back to our blog.
  • Central/String Inverter Warranties
      • These inverters generally have a 12-year warranty from the manufacturer, although it is common for a solar company to extend that warranty to 20-25 years.
        • Generally, these inverters only last for 10 to 12 years; so they are going to have to be replaced at some point. Yes, an extended warranty generally will cover the costs of the replacement inverter, but it won’t account for the amount of energy (and therefore, money) that is lost while the system is down nor the costs associated with diagnosing, servicing, and shipping.
  • Micro-inverter Warranties
  • These inverters have a standard 25-year warranty from the manufacturer that excludes costs like shipping, labor, or service calls to diagnose the issues.

Company Warranties

  • It is also common for an installer to offer their own “workmanship” or company warranty. These are usually 10-15 years, although some are longer. A couple of things to take into account here:
    • What is the projected longevity of the company? A warranty is only good if a company is still around to honor it. There have been many companies, even some of the largest in the industry, who have failed or merged into other companies (Solar City, Vivant, etc.) What happens to the warranties in that instance? Pay special attention to the health and longevity of the company if they are offering their own extended warranty.
    • Does the company handle its own service calls after the sale? If not, the company may end up pointing the finger at the company that installed the array, while the installer may blame the company that sold the array. It’s easy to create a warranty, but entirely another thing to be prepared to honor it!

Third-Party Warranties

  • There are companies (including Rooftop Solar) that offer third-party, supplemental warranties. Rooftop Solar’s included third-party warranty provides 30 years of coverage for the things that are excluded in the earlier mentioned warranties. These include:
    • Diagnostic calls
    • Additional parts
    • Labor
    • Shipping
  • In addition to covering these things, Rooftop Solar’s warranty also covers roof penetrations that are made to attach your system to the roof; this is very uncommon and almost never offered by solar integrators.

 

Every warranty is only as good as the circumstances it excludes. It’s very comforting to hear that the modules are covered, but very few people understand that there may be situations that are excluded or not covered. 

As you can see, solar warranties generally provide a lot of coverage as long as you understand what is not covered. The number one recommendation is for you to ask for copies of every warranty the salesperson mentions and read them closely for exclusions. It can be tedious, but it will save you time and frustration later.

 

If you are interested in getting a free quote today with Rooftop Solar’s included third-party warranty, click here to get started.

 

To learn more about solar panel warranties, please refer to Energy Sage.

To learn more about inverter warranties, please visit Energy Sage.

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