Solar panel warranty: What you need to know
When comparing solar panels and installer companies, you need to understand the various types of solar panel warranties as this will help you evaluate each system and the proposed installation.
- The one that really matters
- Solar panel performance warranty
- Solar product warranty
- Inverter warranty
- Installation warranty
The one that really matters: Whole system warranty
The most important solar warranty, if you can get it, is a full system warranty. Not all solar installer companies even provide this warranty, while some top companies provide a 10-year warranty. The Clean Energy Council’s Approved Solar Retailers all agree to provide a minimum 5-year warranty on the operation and performance of the whole solar power system.
Responsibility is with the retailer
The beauty of this condition is that if any part of the system breaks down or underperforms, the solar retailer will repair it. An entire system warranty is one difference between a highly reputable solar installer and one not so good.
After a reputable installer?
Other solar panel warranties
Even if you get a whole system warranty, you need to know about the other available solar panel warranties and the difference between each one.
Solar panel performance warranty
Nearly every solar panel comes with a 25-year performance warranty. The performance warranty protects you against panels that degrade way faster than what they should. Most performance warranties guarantee that your panels will produce 80% of their rated output after 25 years. It is arguably the least important of all the warranties as it is difficult to prove that inferior performance is solely due to the solar panel module.
Solar panel product warranty
The solar panel product warranty provides you with protection should your system underperform due to faulty modules. The solar panel manufacturer provides the product warranty, and they normally guarantee the module for 10 – 15 years. Better quality panels can come with a 25-year product warranty.
The inverter warranty is as important as the product warranty because without a functioning inverter your panels won’t work anyway. The inverter also performs at high temperature and is the system component most likely to fail. Inverters typically come with a 5-year warranty, though in many cases you can pay more to have this extended.
Your solar retailer will possibly offer you an installation warranty that normally covers the quality of the install. The warranty period for an installation warranty varies from anywhere between 12 months to ten years. Installation warranties can be vague, it is critical that you ask:
- What is covered by the installation warranty?
- Does the warranty lie with the retailer company or sub-contractor?
In the event a solar company subcontracts the solar installation, it is essential to know who is providing the warranty. The solar retailer may advertise an installation warranty, but if they do not perform the install, they may well fall back on the sub-contractors warranty, which is likely to be far shorter.
Australian Consumer Law
In the event your solar system breaks down or underperforms, you also have rights as an Australian consumer. Australian Consumer Law provides a guarantee that any product you purchase should perform and function as advertised.
The upshot is to select a highly reputable installer that provides a full system warranty to supply and install your solar panels. Then you know you are covered no matter if something falters. We can organise quotes from solar retailers that provide industry best solar panel warranties.