Why a 25 year solar panel warranty is a myth
The word guarantee, we always have clear associations, and we know what is behind a 5-year warranty on a TV, car or other thing. When buying solar panels, you have heard repeatedly that solar panels have a 25 year warranty. But the solar panel warranty is a rather unique thing, and behind these words there are many nuances that the sellers of solar panels are simply silent about.
Any owner of a solar power plant is sure that they have a 25 year guarantee on the loss of power of solar panels, and a 12 year guarantee on the physical integrity of the panels. Average.
They all show beautiful graphs of solar panel degradation, tell you how well everything will be with you in 25 and even more years. They promise mountains of gold that the solar power plant will bring over the years, and what a good investment it is.
Only when it comes to signing papers, everyone somehow ends their obligations at best with the end of the “Green Tariff”, and even so they refer to the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty. But who read them then?
The most important question – to whom in general will you make claims, in 10, 15 or 25 years? Are you sure that the company that wants to sell you solar panels will exist in 10 years? Does the manufacturing company have sufficient financial reserves and invest enough money in new technologies to stay afloat for the next decades, or is it just an assembler of ready-made modules, with zero added value?
Ask these questions to the solar panel seller and see how he immediately becomes sad. Indeed, for the most part, managers sell what the boss told them to sell, what makes a profit, and not what has an added value for the end user.
Let’s dream that after 10 years the company that sold and installed the panels for you remained on the market, the company that produced the solar panels is also still on the market, and the reason you applied for was also recognized by everyone as a warranty. About the nuance of recognizing the warranty a little later, but we will assume that you have succeeded in everything.
An option that would suit you is to replace the solar panel with exactly the same one.
But alas, even after 3 years, it is practically unrealistic. Manufacturers are constantly changing their lineup, increasing the capacity of solar panels thanks to new technologies for the production of solar plates, and also to please marketers and logisticians. The words standardization and unification are not yet about the solar panel market.
In addition, you will need to pay for the services of the installation organization, upon arrival, dismantling and installation of a new solar panel. And it’s very good if your editing organization is not very far away. Otherwise, only the cost of its travel will easily exceed the price of a solar panel. And if the panel is in the middle of the roof, or “sails”?
Multiply the amount of services several times more.
In total, at best, you will be offered a solar panel that will have completely different physical dimensions, color, possibly a different thickness of the frame, be mounted in different places and will have completely different currents and voltages that are incompatible with your old solar panels. Already now, there is another change of generations of solar panels, and the 590W panel turns out to be incompatible with 550W. And how and where you will push the panel of new sizes and parameters – nobody cares.
There is also another option. Instead of a replacement, you can get your money back. Only here is the algorithm for calculating them, which is quite logical for a manufacturer of solar panels, not the fact that you will like it.
For purposes of this Global Limited Warranty salvage value = The market price at the moment of raising warranty claim (unit price per watt) * the original guaranteed nameplate power * remaining warranty period (year) / original total warranty period
Residual value = Current market price per W * Panel power * Remaining years until the end of the warranty / The entire warranty period.
Thus, for my 265W panel, which I charged at $ 0.46 / W (122 $) in 2018, in 2028 I will be paid ash …
0.2 (you can put your number, I’m an optimist) * 265 * (25-10) / 25 = 32 $,
which will not correct the situation at all, and what to do with thongs that fall out of the optimal mode is not clear to anyone.
25 year guarantee for nothing
The saddest thing is what exactly, to whom and how you will prove.
Once again, the same rainbow version as your supplier (maybe he is also an installer), and a solar panel manufacturer, is still in place in 10 years.
What do you refer to under warranty? What is your station 15% less than 10 years ago this year? They will advise you to wash the panels and tell you about a cloudy year.
Snal Trail appeared on the panels – did they let you know about installation errors or flimsy construction?
The construction warranty has long passed, and damaged solar panels are not covered by the warranty. And you still need to prove that it was not you who damaged these solar panels.
Likewise, in any case under warranty, the integrity of the panels will be checked first.
But you haven’t watched how they are being assembled, and so far, the footage of the brave installers standing on solar panels causes only a reaction, so what?
Nobody even reads the transportation rules. And they are coming from China with possible defects.
Then they are mounted to you on the structure, and they are fixed where it turned out, and not as it should be according to the instructions.
About the gaps between the panels, they don’t really like to remember either. Everything is written down in the instructions for the panels, and when the time comes for the warranty disassembly, the already grated roll will return, and he will notice all the shortcomings, saying that they did the constructions, yes, but that brigade has long been gone, they were fired, and you yourself wanted to. And the guarantee was given to you only 1 – 3 years, if at all.
Even if the installers turn a blind eye to the damage. They will tell you – so what, the panel is just as good and generates as expected. Well, maybe 5% less, but not 15, you invented everything.
When dealing with loss of power, the conditions are clearly spelled out – during measurements, the panel must be in “standard conditions” (temperature, illumination, humidity, etc.), and the check must be carried out by a certified specialist using certified equipment.
It is not realistic to check the mounted panel. And there are no specialists, and so far not a single certified laboratory for testing solar panels is expected in the district. And to prove that your panels have begun to generate less than they promised is unrealistic. It is already used by businessmen who are not entirely clean on hand. It takes 10 seconds to re-stick the sticker on the solar panel. But you can mark panels of an unknown manufacturer with beautiful stickers … And even now, some new stations generate less than they should in 10 years. And it is not possible to prove something to the seller, or even more so to the manufacturer.
“Abroad will help us”
But what if your installer or seller is missing? First of all, of course, you contact the manufacturer, and he – the distributor. We will assume that they are still there.
But it is important for the manufacturer to understand that you did not steal these panels, and they want to understand the date of the sale, and indeed, they want to (this is spelled out in everyone’s rules). And they ask to show documents, when and from whom you bought these panels, during a warranty call. How many of you will have something to show? Even if you have saved and shown everything. It is necessary to dismantle the panel again and it is not known what, in terms of power and size, or $ 30-50. And this is provided that someone has checked the panel for you, diagnosed a malfunction, dismantled the panel, and the panel manufacturer will believe his word. And I will emphasize once again that there are no such people in the vicinity. And there are 10 more points that the installation of solar panels must meet. Finding the reason for denying warranty service is very easy.
Yes, there are installers who have the necessary diagnostic tools (albeit not certified), but again, with all their desire, they will not be able to get you the panel that was produced 10 years ago. And no one will return the price you paid 10 years ago.
As a result, the 25-year warranty is rather a fiction, and has very little to do with the real state of affairs.
All that can console you is the real statistics of solar panel failures. While she is on our side, and according to analytical companies, it does not exceed 1%. Only now the montages were analyzed, made by certified specialists, and not by local craftsmen. And even with them, the quality of solar panels plays a big role.
Therefore, I strongly recommend that you buy high-quality solar panels from official distributors, closely monitor the installation team, make reliable structures, in accordance with all the rules, and of course check your station for defects in a timely manner. In the first three years of operation of the station, you still have a chance to solve something, almost without loss. Then – you get half a workstation and some money, at best. I have repeatedly mentioned the main mistakes during installation.
Nothing strengthens the relationship like a properly drawn up contract with the installer. I perfectly understand how business is conducted, but a completed warranty card, with the terms of the warranty !! and who and how will check the panels for warranty, the rules for replacing panels, with a filled-in date of sale and a seal, as well as a contract, will help you defend your rights.
At the moment, most of the rights, as well as a guarantee, have no word at all.
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