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  • Melissa Deaver

Solar Warranties

Solar is a big investment, and it's important to do your research on every aspect of the install before signing a contract. Warranties should be one of the factors to consider when researching your new array. Your system is supposed to last 30 years minimum, so you'll want to ensure you have adequate protection for as long as you can get it.

Understanding what the warranties are and what exactly they cover can be confusing, especially when the language used varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and every warranty is different. Before signing a contract, be sure to get all of the information you need to make an informed decision. Ask for the product spec sheets from your installer and do some of your own research to ensure you'll be covered.

Panel Warranty Basics

A solar panel comes with two warranties. The product warranty covers the equipment itself and usually ranges from 10-12 years. The power of performance warranty has to do with the amount of output guaranteed. Usually these guarantee at least 90% production at ten years and 80% at 25.

A product warranty covers the equipment itself, so if any panel were to have a defect or mechanical issue, the warranty would kick in. These issues are usually caught upon unboxing or receiving the material, so your installer will likely catch it before it gets installed. Most manufacturers offer at least 10 years of coverage, but you can find some premium options that offer 25-30 years.

A power warranty refers to the production of power that the panel will provide. All electronics' performance will degrade over time. Sometimes called a performance warranty, a power warranty guarantees the level at which the manufacturer's panels will degrade. These warranties will have two factors - the term and the warrantied degradation rate.

Degradation of a panel's performance depends on several factors including the technology used to capture the sun, the silicon used and the way the panel aggregates the electricity within the panel. Most manufacturers guarantee at least 80% of original output by the end of the term (usually 25-30 years).

Most warranties will note that within the first few years, you will see the highest rate of degradation. This is because when panels are first exposed to solar radiation, they have a larger degradation period, and then it will plateau to a more stable rate.

What Else Does a Warranty Cover?

In addition to the material and performance, you may be wondering about labor and shipping. Let's say you have a panel that meets the criteria for the material warranty and they are going to send out a new one. Most companies will not pay for the shipping or labor for installation, as this is usually not covered in their warranties. This is why it's important to read the fine print with your installer - do they have a workmanship guarantee? MidIowa Power offers a 1 year workmanship guarantee, so if you have any issues with your system, we are happy to service it free of charge.

Extended Warranties

Some companies offer extended product or power warranties to give you added protection. You may have to pay a fee or choose an installer in their network to qualify, but it may be worth it!

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