Understanding Solar Panel Warranties.
Solar panel warranties protect your solar investment and are an essential part of any solar PV installation. Understanding the differences between different types of warranties and what products feature the best warranties is vital to ensure that you can make the most out of your solar installation
What is a solar panel warranty?
A solar panel has two warranties:
1. Solar panel Performance warranty:
Over time, the power output of all solar panels degrades. Knowing this degradation rate (typically 2.5-3% for the first year and 0.67% from year 2 to 25.) will give you a clear sense of the minimum amount of power you are guaranteed for the next 25 years of your panels’ life. Then, if a panel’s output is lower than promised, the panel manufacturer will replace, repair or reimburse you for the panel—depending on the warranty terms.
Most manufacturers typically provide a linear performance warranty as shown above, with around 90% production at 10 years and around 80% at 25 years. The chart above considers a 3% degradation in year 1, and 0.65% degradation YoY from year 2.
Some Manufacturers like REC, LG, Panasonic provides Performance warranties up to 90% at 25 years for some of the products in their portfolio compared to the industry standard of 80%.
2. Solar panel product warranty:
This type of warranty covers any defects in materials or workmanship. If a panel suddenly stops working after a few months because of a flaw in a solder joint, for example, your product warranty will most likely cover it. A product warranty will typically guarantee 10-12 years without failing.
A solar panel’s product warranty insurance covers the integrity of the panel itself and protects you against problems such as defects in materials and workmanship under normal application, installation, usage and service conditions
As with most warranties, a longer period is generally more advantageous to you, if you own your solar panel system.
Some Manufacturers like REC, LG, Panasonic provides Product warranties up to 25 years compared to the industry standard of 10 years.
Why does a solar panel warranty matter? How it impacts your PV system
A solar PV system represents a multi-decade investment. Your return on that investment is directly related to the amount of electricity your solar energy system generates year-after-year. The electricity generated by your solar panel system allows you to either buy little or no electricity from your utility. The less energy your solar system produces, the greater your dependence on the utility. It’s a zero-sum game. If the panels in your solar system degrade quickly over time, then you’ll derive less long-term value from your system than if your panels degraded more slowly.