Solar panel warranties – what is the difference between product and performance warranties
When purchasing a solar system, the solar panel manufacturer will provide company backed, product and performance warranties. These terms are used interchangeably by many in the solar industry, and they mean slightly different things to you as the consumer. Product warranties vary between manufacturers from 10 – 40 years, while performance warranties are between 25 to 40 years.
In a nutshell, product warranties cover how the panel is screwed together while the performance warranty refers to the solar cells and how they will convert sunlight into electricity for your home.
So, what do each of these mean to you?
Solar panel product warranty
This is the more important of these two warranties and it covers the physical defects in the solar panel. Things like the construction of the frame, delamination, and reduction in the insulation resistance. Essentially the manufacturer warrants that the solar panel will stay screwed together, not fall apart and be capable of producing power to the inverter for the length of the warranty period. The terms and conditions of the manufacturer’s warranty will also vary greatly, so be sure to read the fine print and terms and conditions.
In general, the more premium the solar panel, the longer the warranty period. It is also important to remember that the warranty is only as good as the company is providing it. Thankfully Huglo Solar has done the hardwork and assessed the warranties provided and we only choose to install panels that can be backed up by quality manufacturers. We also like brands that have Australian based customer support – this means we can get someone on the phone with any technical issues and get the problems fixed quickly.
As you can see in the table below, the warranties increase in time depending on the solar package. This will mean an increase in cost, but also provide greater certainty of quality and ability to back-up the warranty.
Solar panel performance warranty
The performance warranty is usually a longer time period, and it means the actual solar cells will produce at least as much electricity at the warranty period end date as they do on day one. For example, a performance warranty could cover a 25-year period at 85% of day one power.
The solar cells degrade overtime as they are asked to keep producing electricity each and every day. Again the more premium solar panels will provide a higher percentage of guaranteed output. Huglo Solar only installs brands that provide a higher quality output level for the warranty period. This warranty is less important as it hard to prove with the manufacturers. In general, we ensure the manufacturer has a proven track record of many years that prove up the performance of the solar panel in large scale projects – how many solar panels have they produced.
What is the best option for your home?
The way we think about it, the warranty is a function of price. Higher cost panels should be expected to last longer, and they provide a more ‘water-tight’ warranty. Huglo Solar are happy to offer all the panels above because in the end, we all know you get what you pay for.
The key takeaway should be that be aware of solar retailers providing vague detail about the length of a warranty. We find advertisements of ’25-year warranty’, but this only applies to a proportion of the solar panels, not every working part. When you understand the difference between these two warranties, it can help you make an informed choice and get the best value for your investment in a solar system.
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