• The secret about solar warranties: they're almost as important as the panels.  If you're looking to maximize your return on your solar investment, you'll want to choose the longest and most comprehensive warranty, on all elements of the system, that you can.  You'll want to do extensive research into solar warranties before you make your decision, and in that process, you'll want to find a warranty that offers these 5 things:

  • 1. A Substantial Power Warranty:

    Power warranties for solar panels are basically a guarantee that your system will maintain a certain level of production for the duration of the warranty.  This is generally measured by the percent of the original production the system maintains after 25 years.  This is guaranteeing that limited degradation of your panels will occur in the allotted time period.  For example, SunPower's power warranty is 92%, meaning that after 25 years, SunPower panels will be producing at least 92% of their original capacity.

  • 2. An All-Encompassing Product Warranty:

    Most solar systems are made up of equipment from different companies.  As a result, the different elements of the system, including the racking, panels, inverter, and monitoring equipment will all be under different warranties.  This is not only confusing, but as the system requires all elements to be functioning properly, a breakdown in any one element of the system can cause the system to be dysfunctional as a whole.  That's why it's better to find a company that covers all products associated with the system so you are not relying on four different companies to keep your system running.


    3. Manufacturer Pays For Defective Panel Replacement:

    Many conventional solar warranties, though they will replace your defective panels for free, will still make YOU pay for the packing and shipment of your defective panel, and some even for the installation of the new good panel.  Make sure that your solar warranty will take care of the shipping of the defective panel, as well as cover the cost of the reinstallation of the new panel.

  • 4. Manufacturer Doesn’t Require Original Proof of Purchase:

    Many solar companies require receipts, proof of purchase or written claims in order to get elements of your solar system replaced.  You'll want to look for a company that doesn't require you to deal with tedious physical paperwork to fix your system and keeps it running.

    5. Warranty Covers Rust Damage:

    Many solar warranties do not cover any damage or defects due to rust from installations near the beach.  This can be a huge negative, as if you live near the ocean, you know how quickly rust can form.  So you'll want to choose a company that not only makes rust-resistant solar panels but will replace panels in case they are damaged beyond their functional state.

  • So when looking at solar panel warranties, be sure that the company you go with has you covered on these 5 points.  Choosing a great warranty assures you that you'll get the most out of your system for the longest period of time, which ultimately gives you the best return on investment.  SunPower systems have the best warranty in the business, so if you're shopping around, be sure to look into their exceptional power and product warranty.  


  • About the Author

    Michael Powers


    Michael is one of the founding partners of Stellar Solar. In 2001, he helped launch The Home Depot’s national solar energy program which is now offering home solar through hundreds of stores in nearly a dozen states. He is a writer and marketing professional with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of energy, market intelligence and leadership training. He currently serves as treasurer and board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that advocates linking renewable energy resources around the world using electricity transmission.