What You Haven't Been Told About Solar Panel Warranties
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Solar panel warranties protect your solar investment and therefore it is vital to understand what types of warranties exist and how they work. There are two different kinds of warranties that ensure your panels are covered. In this article we highlight the differences between them and explain what these warranties actually cover.
Which Types Of Solar Panel Warranties Exist?
Solar panels come with two warranties: a product and a performance guarantee. Both warranties are offered by the panel manufacturer. This means it's the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that the warranty conditions are met.
The product warranty “warrants that the PV Modules shall be free from any defect in materials and workmanship that has an effect on module functionality under normal application, installation, use and service conditions …” as stated by QCells in their product warranty terms and conditions. Product warranties are very straight forward. If, due to no fault of your own, a panel stops working or performs poorly you are entitled to a replacement. For quality solar panels you can expect a product warranty of 10-12 years.
The performance warranty promises that the performance of your solar panels doesn’t fall under a certain point. The performance warranty for quality solar panels will typically ensure that your panel’s performance is 90% at 10 years and 80% or more at 25 years. This is one major reason to choose quality solar panels because they come with a better performance warranty.
What's The Difference Between Product And Performance Warranty?
You may think the product and the performance warranty sound very similar and conclude that if a panel fails and your system therefore performs below the promised level you are entitled to replacement. You are exactly right.
Here’s what most people aren’t aware of. If a panel fails or its output falls below the promised level after the product warranty ends, but still during the performance warranty, the manufacturer will have to repair or replace it.
This means that solar panels that come with a 25-year performance warranty are ensured for their entire lifetime.
If at any point during their lifetime your system’s output falls below the promised performance, it is covered by the performance warranty.
25-Year Performance Warranty = Lifetime Warranty
This is vital to understand since many people assume their solar panels aren’t covered for more than 10-12 years, depending on the length of the product warranty. This is not true.
If for example one of your solar panels fails after 15 years, it will affect the performance of your solar system. If the performance of your solar system isn’t as high as promised by the performance warranty, your panel manufacturer is obligated to repair or replace the failed panel.
Pro-Tip: You don't need a solar monitoring system to send proof of your system's performance to the manufacturer. This can be done by your solar installer.
Why Does The Product Warranty Even Matter?
Now you may ask yourself why the manufacturer offers two different warranties when the performance warranty covers the same as the product warranty.
The only case in which the performance warranty doesn’t cover any panel replacement or repair is when your system’s performance falls below what you expect but is still higher than what the performance warranty guarantees.
If for example your solar panels generate 60% of the original output after 20 years and your performance warranty guarantees you an output of 65%, it doesn’t fall under the performance warranty.
Choose Quality Solar Panels
For this reason it is important that you choose quality solar panels that come with a performance warranty which guarantees your system’s output will be at least 80% at 25 years.
This is a list of panel brands we at Econnect Solar install including their warranties.
Strong warranties make solar a safe and smart investment. Find out how much you can save with solar by leaving us your details so one of our solar specialists can give you an accurate quote.