Solar Warranties 101
Solar Warranties 101 – What they cover and what to consider
Investing in a solar system is a smart decision, but it’s important to make sure your investment is protected with the right warranty. Each component of your system should come with its own warranty. Let’s explore the different warranties and what they cover.
It’s worth noting that statistically solar panels rarely fail. Because they have no moving parts, the vast majority never have a fault. However, knowing you are protected by a quality warranty is still important.
Most solar panels offer two types of warranties: a product warranty and a power warranty.
The product warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials. Basically, if something in your panel ‘breaks’ this would fall under the product warranty. For a good quality solar panel, you expect around a 25-year product warranty (SunPower Maxeon offers an impressive 40-year).
The power warranty guarantees that a solar panel’s production rate won’t drop below a set standard. This usually includes a specified annual degradation rate (the maximum it will drop in production each year) and a guaranteed power output at the end of the warranty period. For example, a good quality panel such as REC offers a 25-year power warranty, guaranteeing 92% power output in year 25. SunPower Maxeon once again leads the market with 88.3% in year 40.
Some panels also come with a service warranty, that covers the wider costs of a warranty claim, such as removal, shipping and installation. This makes the warranty claim process super simple, so it’s worth noting if a manufacturer offers this warranty. REC and SunPower once again set the industry standard.
The inverter is the workhorse of your solar system, converting sunlight into usable electricity. It works very hard for a long time, which means it’s often the component of a solar system that is likely to fail. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a quality inverter with a good warranty
Inverter warranties in the industry are typically around 10 years (extendable to 15 years with Fronius).
When considering an inverter warranty, check the track record of the company and how they handle warranty issues. We’ve seen some companies offer cheap products with lengthy warranties, hoping for the best.
Our top pick for an inverter will always be Fronius, a reputable company with good support and an easy warranty process. This is what Dean Dunning, Director of Think Solar, has to say about our experience with Fronius’ warranty process
Generally we’ve seen hardly any of the components fail in a Fronius inverter. But when the occasional small component needs replacing it has been dealt with in a timely manner and our labour is covered to do it. What’s great is that Fronius prioritise repairability, so the whole inverter doesn’t need chucking out, usually, it’s just a simple replacement part.
Most high-quality batteries will come with a warranty that is around 10 years. The thing to note is that often this is a 10-year limited warranty, meaning that it is covered for 10 years or until it reaches a certain number of cycles or throughput, whichever comes first.
Unlike most battery manufacturers, Tesla’s warranty guarantees unlimited cycles for self-consumption and time-based control (grid charging). The warranty guarantees the battery will retain 70% of its initial capacity after 10 years.
We’ve always been impressed by the support Tesla provides. In one case we were surprised when Tesla asked if we could warranty a battery with a faulty fan. There had been no complaint from the customer and the product was still working. Tesla knew before the customer (and us) that there was a small issue and initiated a replacement.
Our workmanship warranty sits alongside the warranties for the components of your system. Our 10-year workmanship warranty guarantees that our installation work will be free from fault or defect for ten years from the installation date.
It covers the installation work and related components, such as the cabling.
If any part of your system fails or isn’t working as expected, we will come back and figure it out. It might be as simple as a faulty connection that we can get sorted on the spot. Or if there is an issue with one of the hardware components, we will support you with their warranty claim.
We offer one of the longest workmanship in New Zealand. We are confident in the quality of our work and you should be too.
Things to consider across all warranties
- Coverage and duration may sound obvious, but keep an eye out for exclusions or limitations. As mentioned, battery cycle limitations is a key one to be aware of.
- New Zealand support for warranty claims – it’s worth checking that the manufacturer has NZ-based support. While we handle issues on your behalf, local support is much faster if any problems arise. Quick replacement part turnarounds can get your system back to producing power in no time.
- Company sustainability – a warranty is only valuable if the company is around to honour it. Check out the track record, longevity and bankability of the company.
- Company reputation for handling warranty claims – read reviews to gauge people’s experiences with warranty claims. In our experience, Tesla has a quick turnaround compared to other companies in the battery space, ensuring you’re up and running again sooner.
This might sound like a lot of research, but it’s worth doing. And don’t worry, we’ve already considered all these factors when selecting what products to use. You can rest assured that if we are recommending a product it meets our standard of a reliable warranty period.