When you’re researching solar power equipment it’s also well worth investigating the warranties offered by each manufacturer. Before you start researching it’s important that you understand how the warranties are structured and exactly what they mean.
We are seeing an increased amount of inferior quality inverters landing on Australian soil due to the increased popularity of grid-connect solar systems. All inverters sold within Australia must be approved by the Clean Energy Council (CEC), however this approval does not necessarily mean that the inverter is of good quality or efficacy. The CEC approval only confirms that the inverter meets the relevant electrical standards, not that it lives up to its warranty claims. For these reasons we strongly suggest that you do your homework when selecting an inverter as your inverter is the most important part of the entire system.
A 5-year inverter warranty is generally considered standard across the board, however a few manufacturers will offer the option to upgrade to a 10-year warranty. This warranty should cover any defects in materials as well as workmanship for this warranty period. We can’t stress enough how important it is that you have a clear understanding of who the manufacturer of the inverter is, not just who’s on-selling it, as in some circumstances you may need to make a claim against the manufacturer.
At Infinity Solar we predominantly use SMA inverters. SMA have proven themselves over the years to be the most efficient and reliable inverter on the market today. SMA is the largest inverter manufacturer in the world, with its headquarters located in Kassel, Germany and manufacturing plants spread throughout Germany and the USA. SMA Australia is a fully owned subsidiary of SMA Solar Technology AG and all warranty issues are resolved within Australia, which saves you the hassle and worry of dealing with an international manufacturer. If you should have a warranty claim you should first contact Infinity Solar. We will then act as your liaison with SMA to ensure that the issue is resolved as quickly and simply as possible.
One of the most important points to understand is how and who you make your warranty claim to if your equipment should fail within the warranty time.
We see all too often people being lured by the warranty a panel offers rather than its quality. A solar panel is a solid-state component with no moving parts, which is why we see workmanship and material warranties up around 10 years. Unlike all other products you own it’s very difficult for you to determine if a solar panel is actually working to its capacity. For this reason choosing a well-respected and proven panel is one of the first and most important steps in selecting your system. As with inverters, all solar panels sold in Australia must be CEC approved. This approval, however, is no guarantee that the panel will perform as the data sheet and warranty would indicate.
In most cases a solar panel carries two types of warranties: a Product Warranty and a Performance Warranty. It’s important to understand both these warranties and what the process is if you should need to make a claim.
PANEL PRODUCT WARRANTY
A solar panel product warranty is no different than the 12-month warranty that you would receive if you purchased a new TV. A panel product warranty should cover any defects in materials and workmanship that would impact the functionality of the panel. Defective material and workmanship does not only relate to the solar cells within the panel, but also the electrical components, electrical wiring on the panel, the electrical junction box and the aluminium frame that holds it all together. In general, a solar panel is a reasonably stable component with no moving parts and for this reason we see most premium or tier-1 manufacturers offer a 10-year product warranty. However, recently we have been seeing cheap no-name panel manufacturers also introduce a 10 year product warranty, so to the buyer, beware!.
PANEL PERFORMANCE WARRANTY
To fully understand this warranty you must first be familiar with the characteristics of a photovoltaic (PV) cell. All PV cells will start to degrade as soon as they are exposed to light and this ongoing degradation will lead to reduced output over the life span of the panel. The amount a cell degrades and how quickly it degrades will directly affect the amount of generation you would expect from a panel. You would expect to see a tier-1 or premium panel degrade about 0.7% a year where degradation of well over 1% a year is often seen in cheaper, inferior panels. Again there is no standard in Australia that requires panel manufacturers to actually test their panels in accelerated weathering conditions, which is why we’re seeing very ambitious performance warranties being offered in Australia by some less reputable manufacturers and solar companies.
The performance warranty is a guarantee given by panel manufacturers that their panels will give a percentage of their generation at Standard Test Conditions (STC) after a certain amount of time. In most cases manufacturers will detail what cell degradation will occur each year and then give a minimum guaranteed output at year 25.
For a small additional fee you can extend your total system warranty for an extra 5 years to give you extra peace of mind. Put simply, this means that we will fix any defect with your panel, inverter or our workmanship for the first 10 years.
We don’t mess around when it comes to our price guarantee. It’s simple - bring us a competitor’s quote for a system with identical equipment that is cheaper than ours and we’ll beat their price by $150*. Guaranteed.
We take pride in our customer service and it’s something that sets us apart from the competition. At Infinity Solar we give every customer a dedicated consultant who reviews your solar needs, quotes on your system and organises everything up to installation. If you are not fully satisfied that we have made the process as simple as possible, we will discount your solar power installation by $150. Guaranteed.
*Excludes bulk pricing and government programs.