Solar panel warranties are confusing. I reckon they are the worst out of any industry. I mean, it’s good that they exist. But they could have made them simpler for sure. You’ve got to consider your solar panel warranties before you buy. Here’s a list:
- Product warranty
- Performance warranty
- Linear warranty or not?
- 3rd party backed warranty or not?
Something to think about right? It’s enough to make your head spin alright.
Solar Panel Warranties – The Product
This is really your most important warranty. I mean, if something goes wrong with your solar panel, you want it fixed right? Well the “product” warranty for solar panels covers you if the panel has some defect in it. It might be a crack, a split, cables fallen off, a cell defect or whatever. This is the one that you really should care about.
Solar panel warranties on the product are usually at least 10 years
A 10 year product warranty for solar panels is normal. This means, after 10 years and 1 day, your panel is set to fall apart. Not really of course, solar panels are built to last 30+ years. But if you’ve got a cheap solar panel then it may well fail shortly after 10 years.
Solar Panel Warranties – The Performance
Solar panels should also come with some performance warranties. This is a guarantee that basically says your solar panels won’t stop producing power after x number of years.
The “usual” scenario for performance warranties is 25 years.
That’s right, normally you get 25 years as a performance warranty. But, seriously – how would you make a claim on this one? Get on the roof and measure each panel? This is where micro inverters or a good solar monitoring system would come in handy!
What’s The Deal With “Linear” Warranties?
Honestly, what a load of A-grade bollocks. Some companies say they offer a “linear” warranty on performance. E.g. no more than 0.05% drop in panel output each year. Panel degradation is linear anyway! Well, sort of. There is no real benefit to this and it’s a marketing ploy that I can’t stand.
What About “Third Party” Backed Warranties
This is interesting. Some panels might just make their own warranties. So if one stuffs up and gets returned, they supply a new one off their own bat. The trouble with this is that it’s a lot more risky. With a third party backed warranty, there is a company which “backs” the solar panel warranties so that even if the module maker folds, you’re a lot safer.