Tips for Going Solar: Understand the Warranty
When deciding to go solar, it is crucial to understand the warranties that are being provided with your system. Having the peace of mind that your investment is covered in case an issue arises is priceless. This article helps breakdown the various warranties that you should look for or can expect with your solar system. Warranties can be broken down into two key areas: those from the product manufacturer and those from the solar installer.
The solar industry has seen a massive uptick in technology in recent years and with it, a host of new brands and technologies. There are “good” brands out there that do a decent job in providing your solar needs, then there are “superior” brands that cover your needs and are backed by an excellent warranty giving you the peace of mind you deserve.
- Solar Panel Warranties
Not all solar panels are created equally. Quality panels, like those used by Solar Topps, produce more energy for longer periods, which helps you save more money on your energy bills long term. Moreover, quality panels typically have better warranty terms so if something does go wrong, you know your system is covered. When reviewing the solar panels for your system, look closely at the following warranties:
- Product Warranty
This warranty will cover any defects in materials or workmanship while the product is being made. Different manufacturers will have different warranties on their panels. It is important to check and see how long they offer coverage of their products. Some manufacturers will only cover their product for 5 years while others will cover it for 25 years. To get the most out of your investment, consider a solar panel with longer-lasting warranties.
- Performance Warranty
Solar panels are best understood in terms of “how much energy will it produce over time.” This warranty covers the performance levels of your solar panel system. Solar panels go through a process known as degradation, which means they produce slightly less energy each year they are in operation. How much less they produce is important to understand. You will want to consider:
1) How much energy the panel will lose in its first year (most panels lose between 2 – 3%)?
2) How much energy the panels will lose each year thereafter (up to 25 years)?
3) In year 25, what percentage of the initial wattage rating will the panel be producing?
- Inverter Warranties
Deciding what type of inverter will be installed with your system is important, and just as important is understanding the warranty for your choice. Most traditional string inverters come with 12-year warranties.
The two companies Solar Topps works with often are Solar Edge and Enphase. Enphase offers a standard warranty of 25-years. Whereas SolarEdge offers a standard 12-year warranty on their inverters and a 25-year coverage on its power optimizers. It is important to note that these warranties only apply to the buy who has purchased the products from an authorized SolarEdge seller.
As energy storage devices become more prominent, it’s important to understand their warranty terms. Most batteries come with a standard 10-year warranty which reflects a “start to end” date on the battery, determined by a set number of discharge cycles. Like the Performance Warranty for Panels mentioned above, Batteries come with a Capacity Retention Warranty, which measures the ability of a battery to retain stored energy while it is not being used.
- Additional Considerations for Manufacturer’s Warranties
As always, Solar Topps encourages you to read the fine print on all warranties before going solar. It’s important to know in what instances your warranty may or may not be covered. For instance, if your panel is damaged by a golf ball, it may not be covered under the warranty. Moreover, it’s important to know if your warranty covers just parts or also labor. Having total coverage means less money out of your pocket if an issue arises.
Which is why we proudly partner with companies who offer warranties for products, performance, and labor. Brands like REC, Panasonic, and Enphase offer some of the best warranties in the market. The best way to truly invest in your solar panel system is to make sure you are covered years after your installation.
Solar Installer Warranties
When you choose your installer, it’s important to see what types of warranties they offer in addition to the warranties on the products. Having additional coverage will guarantee your system is in good hands in the event of an incident. Here are some of the key warranties to look for from an installation company:
- Workmanship Warranty
The best solar installers are willing to stand behind their work by offering a workmanship warranty, which is specific to the design and installation of the system. These warranties can range from 2 – 10 years, or in the instance of a company like Solar Topps, last 25 years. When getting a solar proposal, ask about this warranty to know that you are covered in case something goes wrong.
- Roof Penetration Warranty
This warranty covers the work that is done on your roof specifically where your system is installed. The type of coverage of your penetration warranty depends on the installation company. Make sure your warranty works with your current roof warranty. If your roof needs to be repaired in order for you to go solar, you can always roll the price of this into the cost of your system and take advantage of available credits and incentives.
- Performance Production Chart
Although not a warranty, a reputable solar company will be able to provide you with a performance production chart that gives you an idea of how much energy your system will produce year-over-year. This chart is helpful to know whether or not your system is performing per its intended design and expectations. When reviewing a solar proposal, be sure you ask if a production chart that details how much energy the system will produce over the next 25 years can be made available.
Having the peace of mind that your solar system is covered in case any issues arise is priceless. Taking the time to review manufacturers and solar installer’s warranties can help you make the right choice when deciding to go solar. For any questions on warranties and how they may apply to you, please feel free to contact us.