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Do You Really Know about Solar Panel Warranty?

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25 years are the most common figure when you consider the lifespan of your solar panels. Many people then believe their solar panels can last for 25 years. But we also heard about the solar panel warranties, is this equals to panel`s lifespan? In fact, solar panel warranties can be a bit of a headache to understand. They`re split into two categories(performance and workmanship), each with different warranty lengths and areas of coverage.

If your system stops producing the way that it should, it`s not always clear whether you`re covered. Since solar is a big purchase, it`s important to understand how solar warranties work to protect your investment. For your peace of mind, here`s everything you need to know about how warranties work in the solar industry.

What is a workmanship warranty?

The workmanship warranty on your solar panels covers any physical defects that stem from manufacturing errors. Some examples might be:

Imperfections in the frame or glass

  • Loose junction boxes
  • Faulty connectors
  • Bad cells or damaged cell connections
  • Defective backsheet

If the panel malfunctions due to a manufacturing defect, that is covered under the workmanship warranty.

roof-top solar panel

What is a performance warranty?

The performance warranty guarantees your panels will produce near their rated output over the life of ownership. Panel production naturally degrades over time, but it happens at a very slow rate—less than 0.5-1% production loss per year. While production loss will occur for any panel, the performance warranty ensures it happens at a reasonable rate. The performance warranty ensures your system’s output is reliable and consistent. If a panel’s output suddenly falls off a cliff, it would be covered for replacement under the performance warranty.

How long do solar panel warranties last?

Most solar panels come with a 25-year performance warranty. This is the industry standard from Tier 1 manufacturers at the moment. When the warranty expires, that doesn’t mean your panels stop working! They’ll still be producing power, albeit at a reduced rate. A 360W Mission Solar panel should still produce 288W after the 25-year warranty is up. They can still be used to power your appliances, but they’re no longer covered if the production starts to taper off.

Factors that can void your warranty

One last word of caution: warranties only cover your equipment when your system is properly designed and cared for. All warranties carry clauses that essentially boil down to this: “if you use the equipment improperly, we’re not responsible for the damages.” For example, string inverters have a voltage range in which they can operate safely. Your system must be sized so that panels supply the right amount of voltage to your inverter, a process known as string sizing. If your panels send too much voltage into the inverter, it can fry your equipment. That damage would not be covered under warranty because the manufacturer would consider you to be at fault.

roof-top solar panel

Similarly, battery banks must be sized properly so that they charge or discharge at a healthy rate. Completely draining lead-acid batteries when you cycle them will reduce their lifespan, another mistake that would not be covered under warranty. This is where we come in. Our complete solar systems are packaged with these restrictions in mind, so you can be sure you’re getting a system that’s properly sized. If you’d like to put together a custom system, you can also consult with an experienced solar designer to ensure your system is up to code.

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