Solar consumers, be they commercial or residential, want to know the systems they are signing up for will be supported over the years – totally reasonable. As a mature industry, there are Approved Vendor Lists (AVL’s) from which manufacturers must be selected when a solar system is financed. These lists are kept up to date and are well communicated with installers. As an authorized installer of multiple financing products, EcoMen Solar adheres to these AVL’s for all our work.
Let’s get into more details on what material warranties actually mean.
Lets examine the various categories and types of warranty that exist in solar…
Category: Module (panel)
- Product Warranty. This covers the manufacturer’s policy for dealing with situations where the panel fails, or if there are material defects in the product.
- Power Warranty. Crystalline silicon (cSi) based solar modules degrade at about 0.7% per year (more-or-less) — this means modules slowly become less efficient as they age. Module power warranties primarily define the exact rate at which this degradation occurs, and what manufacturer support exists (monetarily, or otherwise) if the module is underperforming. To give you an idea on how slowly efficiency degrades, virtually every cSi module is power warrantied to produce 80% or more in their 25th year of service.
- Performance Warranty. This is synonymous with Power Warranty. See above. Also, see here.
Category: Power Electronics (inverters, optimizers, smart combiners)
- Product Warranty. This covers the manufacturer’s policy for dealing with situations where the component fails. Product warranties differ by product. Here is a quick summary of some common warranties:
|Inverter||SolarEdge||12 (upgradable to 20, 25)|
Category: Racking (materials used for mounting and attaching modules)
- Workmanship Warranty. This covers the manufacturer’s policy for dealing with outright component failures, and other workmanship related failures (for example unprovoked discolorations). By-in-large, racking materials/equipment are durably constructed from aluminum, and almost never fail.
Category: Balance of System (wiring, sub panels, other electrical materials)
- Workmanship Warranty. These components of a solar system are as durable as it gets. How many times have you heard of wire runs failing. It basically doesn’t happen. Other things like sub panels may have workmanship warranties (such as 18 months for Square D products), but these components are typically not very expensive, and like wire runs, virtually never fail.
Category: Installation (the installer’s warranty)
- Labor. This warranty covers the installation – the integration of the system’s parts (panels, power electronics, racking, and wiring), as well as roof penetrations.
- Component Failure. Should the system have a problem within the labor warranty period, it will be the installer’s responsibility to diagnose and correct the issue. If the failure is related to a product which is under manufacturer warranty, the installer will follow manufacturer return processes to obtain a replacement part and restore the system to its fully working state.
- Roof Penetration Failure. Standard installer warranties will stipulate that the installer is on the hook for roof leaks that occur within a radius of attachment points. The radius restriction exists so that the installer cannot be held responsible for roof leaks not related to the solar system.
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