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What To Know About A Solar Panel Warranty

Dec 13, 2022

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Although solar panels are known to be reliable and maintenance-free, it can still help to know you’ll have support from the manufacturer if problems arise. A good solar panel warranty can add peace of mind to a major investment in your home. As in any industry, solar panel warranties vary by what they cover and how long the coverage lasts.

Let’s examine how solar panel manufacturers stand by their products so homeowners can produce clean energy for decades to come.

Note: This article applies to homeowners who own their solar panel system. Generally, maintenance related to solar panel leases or power purchase agreements is handled by the solar company that installed the system.

What Does A Solar Panel Warranty Cover?

A solar panel system warranty should cover more than the modules. It should include the inverter, racking and other components such as wiring and power optimizers. Solar panels and inverters are generally the most expensive items and also the most exposed to the elements.

Warranties might not cover damage related to weather events or branches falling from trees. Fortunately, this sort of damage might be covered by homeowners insurance, which we’ll discuss later.

Finally, solar warranties don’t always cover labor costs for addressing issues.

You may see two types or parts to a solar warranty: the performance warranty and the product warranty.

Performance Warranties For Solar Equipment

A performance warranty guarantees a certain level of power output over a certain period. In short, it’s protection against the system’s efficiency degrading over time. Warranty periods vary by manufacturer.

For example, the Qcells solar panels used by Palmetto offer a linear performance warranty. This guarantees at least a 97% minimal rated power output in the first year, and a maximum reduction of 0.6% in output per year for the remainder of the 25-year warranty. Palmetto also includes three years of Palmetto Protect Essentials on their installations, which includes everything from system reports to ongoing support and servicing.

If you’re considering battery storage, you might also find that solar batteries have performance warranties. The terms vary by manufacturer.

Product Warranties For Solar Equipment

A solar panel product warranty covers the actual hardware in the event of faulty workmanship or manufacturing defects. Examples include an inverter failing or a solar panel experiencing an unexplained drop in output.

Standard Qcells photovoltaic (PV) panels have a 12-year manufacturer product warranty. The company’s “Plus” line has an upgraded 25-year product warranty, and its inverters have a 15-year product warranty.

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Potential Solar Panel Warranty Problems

Solar power installation companies may protect themselves by including some requirements in their warranties. Here are a few reasons a solar manufacturer might void a warranty or deny a warranty claim.

What Can Void A Solar Warranty?

  • Installation by unqualified technicians: DIY installation or repairs will void a warranty. It’s wise to research any certifications or training required for solar technicians. Working with a reputable installation company like Palmetto can help ensure installers have all the necessary trainings and certifications.
  • Using a different solar company for maintenance or repairs: Warranties sometimes require homeowners to use the original installation company for repairs and maintenance. Check your performance and product warranties for details. If your solar installer goes out of business, find out whether they’ve been acquired by another installer. Otherwise, contact the manufacturers of your solar equipment to find out how to proceed with any warranty claims. 
  • A system not being maintained: If you don’t clean your solar panels or trim trees near your system, a manufacturer could void your warranty. Carefully read the warranties for any maintenance requirements.
  • Using inappropriately paired equipment: The manufacturer might require equipment with matching specifications. For example, your installer should use an inverter powerful enough to meet the output of your solar panels. An inverter that can’t convert all the panels’ current from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) might not be covered.
  • Stepping on the panels: If you’re on your roof and step on your solar panels, the manufacturer might not cover the damage.

Warranty Versus Insurance: What Protects Your Solar Panels And When?

A homeowners insurance policy often covers solar panels because they’re a permanent addition to a home. Still, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider for details before starting the installation.

In general, homeowners insurance won’t cover performance guarantees or anything related to panel performance. But it can cover weather- or natural disaster-related solar panel damage that a warranty doesn’t cover.

  • Coverage limits: Ask about whether you’ll need higher coverage limits or whether the system is covered by your current policy in the event of weather or other types of damage like falling branches.
  • Supplemental insurance: Find out if you’ll need to purchase more coverage for your system. Ground-mounted panels may not be considered a permanent part of the home, for example, and may require extra coverage. 
  • Premium prices: Your insurance provider should be able to tell you what impact solar panels will have on your premium.

FAQs: Solar Panel Warranties

Here are a few questions that homeowners often ask about solar panel warranties.

What if my solar installer goes out of business?

Some solar panel warranties require that maintenance and repairs be made by the original installer. If your installer is no longer in business, find out whether they’ve been acquired by a different solar company and contact them. Otherwise, contact the manufacturer of your solar panel system, explain the situation and ask for assistance.

Does my solar panel warranty cover storm damage?

Solar panel warranties typically don’t cover storm damage. Generally, rather than covering defects or workmanship, your homeowners insurance will cover damage from natural disasters and weather events like wind and hail. It’s best to understand your coverage before you need it, though. Before your system is installed, contact your homeowners insurance provider to verify how your policy will cover your solar panels.

How long is the warranty on solar panels?

Warranty length varies on solar panels and other types of equipment. There’s not an official industry standard, but most product warranties last over 10 years and may even reach 25 years. Performance warranties also vary.

The Bottom Line: A Good Solar System Warranty Can Make Life Easier

A solar energy system is a major investment in your home. It’s wise to protect yourself from any future problems, and understanding your equipment warranties can ease your stress if any problems occur. Also, it’s helpful to verify the situations your homeowners insurance will cover.

Please note: Solar panel warranties may be subject to change and vary by model and installation location.

Looking for a solar company that stands by its products and its work? We can help. Talk with a Solar Advisor.

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