The 5 Solar Warranties You need to Know About
By Peter Sutrin, Electrician
Published October 27, 2023

When investing in solar energy, understanding the nuances of solar warranties is crucial. These warranties not only provide peace of mind by protecting your solar panels and components from unforeseen costs but also act as a safeguard for the quality and durability of your investment. With performance guarantees embedded in these warranties, they ensure your solar system continues to deliver optimum energy output over time. But what exactly are these warranties, and why are they so important? In this post, we delve into the five types of solar warranties, exploring each one’s unique role in safeguarding your solar investment.

Why is a solar warranty so important?

Understanding your warranty is important for several reasons. The obvious reason is that it provides peace of mind by safeguarding your solar panels and components, offering free repairs or replacements within the warranty period. This translates to substantial cost savings in the long run, protecting you from unexpected expenses. 

It can also give you an indication of the quality and longevity of your investment, as manufacturers offering strong warranties are typically more committed to producing reliable products. 

Additionally, warranties often come with performance guarantees, ensuring your system delivers the expected energy output, even as the system ages. 

What are the 5 types of solar warranties?

With warranties, it’s important to remember; they are as strong as the company that backs them. If there is no one to answer the phone or to go and see, it’s not very easy to claim a warranty.

Manufacturer Warranties

1. Performance Warranty:

This warranty guarantees that the solar panels will produce a certain amount of energy over a period of time, typically 25 years. 

The specific terms of the warranty will vary depending on the manufacturer, but most performance warranties on quality panels guarantee that the solar panels will produce at least 80% of their original rated power output after 25 years.

For example, the manufacturer might guarantee that the power output of the solar panel will not decrease more than 10% over the first ten years and will not decrease another 10% over the next 15 years. So, applying this example to a 300W panel, if its peak power output drops below 270W in the first ten years, it may be covered under warranty.

2. Solar Panel Product Warranty:

This warranty covers defects in the solar panels themselves, such as manufacturing defects or material defects. The miniumu length of a solar panel product warranty was 10 years, but generally these days most brands will guarantee their panels for up to 25 years or 30 years.

3. Solar Panel Labour Warranty:

This warranty is about covering the cost of the work in replacing panels. In a warranty claim case there is often a large amount of labour cost involved:

  • Cost for an electrician to fault-find and diagnose the initial fault;
  • Then liaise with and prove to the manufacturer the issues;
  • Then the admin time to process the claim;
  • Then the physical work to uninstall and replace the panels.

How much of all this is covered is very important. The best brands have very generous labour warranty guarantees. The strength of these guarantees back-up a manufacturer’s own confidence in their product.

4. Inverter Warranty:

This warranty covers defects in the inverter, which is the device that converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity that can be used by your home or business. The minimum length of an inverter warranty is 5 years although some brands will offer warranties of up to 10. Some will even offer 25 years warranty.

5. Workmanship Warranty:

This warranty is provided by the solar installer and covers defects in the installation of the solar system. The minimum length of an installation warranty is 5 years which is government-mandated. It can be longer, depending on the company providing it.

Workmanship warranty is the warranty that says the product won’t fall off or blow off due to the way it was installed.

Here at Proven Energy, we give a 12 year workmanship warranty for peace of mind.

What happens if the manufacturer or installer shuts down?

If Your Manufacturer Goes Out of Business:

  • Check the Warranty Contract: Review your warranty contract, as it may specify what happens if the manufacturer goes out of business. In some cases, the warranty may be transferred to another company, or you may be able to make a claim through a third-party warranty company.
  • Contact Your State or Territory Consumer Affairs Agency: Reach out to your state or territory consumer affairs agency. They may assist you in resolving the issue with the manufacturer or help you find a third-party warranty company that can address your concerns.
  • Consult a Solar Installer: A solar installer may still be of assistance even if the manufacturer is no longer in business. They might help you initiate a warranty claim if there are any remaining avenues, and in some cases, they could offer repair or replacement services for your solar panels or inverter, even if these are not covered by warranty. Please note that additional costs may apply in such cases.

If Your Solar Installer Goes Out of Business:

  • Solar Panel Product and Inverter Warranty: These warranties are typically backed by the manufacturer. In the event that your installer goes out of business, you should be able to contact the manufacturer directly to make a claim or seek support related to these warranties.
  • Installation Warranty: Installation warranties are usually backed by the installer. However, if the installer has gone out of business, making a claim under this warranty might not be possible. Nevertheless, you may explore the option of making a claim under your home insurance policy if it covers solar panel installations. Be sure to review your insurance policy to determine if such coverage is included.

What don’t solar warranties cover? 

It is important to note that all of these warranties are subject to certain terms and conditions. For example, most performance warranties will not cover damage to the solar panels caused by extreme weather events or vandalism. It is important to read the warranty carefully to understand what is and is not covered.

It’s important to talk to your home insurance company too, as they may cover other forms of damage to your solar system that are outside the scope of your solar warranty. 

A note on normal wear and tear

It’s important to understand that over time, like any other product, solar panels and related components may undergo normal wear and tear due to environmental factors and prolonged use. 

Such wear and tear might not be covered under warranty, as warranties primarily address defects, faults, or performance issues that are not a result of standard aging. Factors like weather exposure, gradual reductions in efficiency, or minor cosmetic blemishes may be considered to be part of the expected lifespan of solar equipment. This means that while warranties offer protection against manufacturing defects and certain issues, they won’t cover the impact of the natural aging process. Regular maintenance and monitoring can help mitigate the effects of wear and tear, ensuring the long-term reliability and efficiency of your solar system.