For a lot of us understanding the difference between a Product warranty and a Performance warranty on a solar panel can be confusing. It is important to understand the difference and why it is important to select the right solar panel company.
Most solar panel manufacturers before 2017 had a 10 Year Limited Product Warranty. For Example here is exactly what Trina Solar has:
“Trina Solar warrants that for a period of ten years commencing on the Warranty Start Date there will be no defects in material workmanship or manufacture that materially impede the power generation functioning of the Products. This Limited Product Warranty covers glass breakage provided that there was no external cause of breakage (i.e. only breakage caused by the glass itself or the module is covered). Any deterioration in the appearance of the Products (including, without limitation, any scratches, stains, mechanical wear, rust, mold, deformation or discoloration) or any other changes to the Products which occur after delivery (Incoterms 2020) to the Buyer, do not constitute a defect under this Limited.”
It is important to understand that after Ten years if a solar panel starts rusting, becomes discoloured, stains have mechanical wear but is still working (putting power out) it will not be covered under warranty anymore. This can be a problem as putting power out does not mean the solar panel is safe if the frames are falling apart from rust. The good news is that most of the good brand solar panels today such as Q Cells have 15-to-20-year Product Warranties.
Performance Warranty (Power Output Warranty)
Most solar panels have 25 – 30 Year output warranties. Therefore, it is so critical to go with a company that will be around to warrant this. This is both the Solar Panel Manufacturer’s and the solar company who sells it for you.
This is an example of most solar panel Performance Warranties:
Trina P-type Mono PERC Products: 2.5% in the first year; from the 2nd year to the 25th year, the average annual power decline will be no more than 0.6%; by the end of the 25th year, the actual power output will be no less than 83.1%.
Selecting the right company to install solar for you is very important as it is extremely difficult to deal with an overseas solar panel manufacturer. A report from LG Solar in 2019 found approximately 700 solar companies in Australia had stop trading or gone into liquidation leaving over 650,000 “Solar Orphans” customers in a difficult spot. Fast forward to 2022 and this number would be much higher as the report found that 10 solar companies a week were on the “out of business” list.