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Residential Solar Panels and Warranties

When installing residential solar panels in New Jersey or anywhere else, you will have warranties from the solar installer and from the equipment manufacturers. 

The minimum warranty for New Jersey solar panels is 4 years, but with help of quality solar modules, inverters, and solar racking, many companies can offer warranties for 20 years and beyond.

When shopping for solar panels, check the installer’s warranty.  What is covered and what is not?

There will be a workmanship warranty to consider, and in the case of a solar lease or solar ppa there may even be a production guarantee to consider.  The workmanship warranty should cover all the roof penetrations and physical work completed on the site.  The workmanship warranty may default to the warranties associated with the products that are used after a certain point.  A production guarantee is less common these days as the market goes to solar loans as an outright ownership option.  Most times the production guarantee will be from the third-party financer.  With a production guarantee, there will be a kWh range of production for a given year, and if the residential solar panel system falls short of the production estimate in that year, the homeowner may be compensated for lost production

But happens if your installer goes out of business?  In that case, you will default to the warranties associated with your solar panels and your other system components.  Solar panels themselves will have two types of warranties which can get a little confusing.  There is the product warranty and then the performance warranty. 

Most solar panel brands will have a 25-year performance warranty, but if they don’t have a 25-year product warranty, you may be disappointed. 

The performance warranty will guarantee the solar panel to stay within a certain efficiency curve over the lifetime of the product whereas the product warranty will truly cover the full solar panel for the lifetime of the system.  It can be hard to take advnatge of a performance warranty as it is difficult to prove the panel is below the curve.  Two companies that have been leaders in solar panel warranties have been SunPower and Panasonic.  Currently Green Power Energy is a Panasonic dealer but has also installed with SunPower in the past.  With Panasonic the warranty is a full 25 year performance and 25 year product.

In addition to the solar panels there are also inverter warranties.  Many solar experts will agree that the most common type of failure on a solar system will be an inverter.  The two most common solar inverters used in residential solar installations are those by Enphase and SolarEdge.  Green Power Energy has installed solar inverters for both Enphase and SolarEdge, but we are currently a SolarEdge dealer.  SolarEdge inverters are a two part product, the optimizer which goes underneath the panel, and the inveter which is at the end of the system and switches the power from DC to AC. 

SolarEdge Optimizers are warrantied for 25 years and their inverters are warrantied for 12, but you can ask your installer for an extended warranty to get they warranty up to 20 years. 

The last major product in a solar installation is the racking.  Green Power Energy uses IronRidge racking which has a 25 year warranty and seals the roof from leakage.  One of the most common questions is, will solar panels void my roof warranty?  And with Green Power Energy and IronRidge racking, the answer is absolutely.  Have the peace of mind knowing your roof warranty is intact with a Green Power Energy solar installation.

Be sure to ask your installer the tough questions about warranties, it is after all the roof above your head that is supporting all this equipment.  Find out if you need to pay the labor for the reinstallation of faulty equipment or if you need to help with any of the warranty paperwork.  And of course, be sure to get data sheets and warranty sheets from the manufacturers.  Geen Power Energy includes a booklet at the end of the solar installation which will contain all your system information. 

Besides the installer and the products that they use, you will want to make your homeowners insurance aware of your recent home upgrade. 

It is unlikely your premium will be raised, and this new asset is also exempt from property tax increases in NJ.  Your homeowner’s insurance is going to be able to help you when your installer and the solar product manafucturers cannot.  When your kid hits the panels with a lacrosse ball, when a branch falls on your roof, all these things wont likely be covered by your installer, but your homeowners insurance will be there to protect you in those instances.

Residential Solar installations are getting better and better in quality.  These days, installers and the product companies they use are willing to put their reputation behind it.  When going solar in nj, you should have peace of mind knowing your installer, their products, and your homeowners insurance will keep your house safe and keep your solar running smoothly.

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