What is a Production Warranty and what does it mean to you?
Once you start your search for the right company to install a solar system, you’ll probably end up with several solar quotes on your table. Many of them likely show the same brands in terms of solar panels, inverters, etc. But there is also much information that could be confusing to the average person who has never researched solar before. Not only this, but you will also have to decipher why these proposals offer, more or less, the same equipment but have significantly different pricing. In an industry where all companies have the same suppliers and where the material costs are the same, why does the pricing vary so much?
Most homeowners choose the cheapest quote they get, because they do not understand where the differences are between quotes. And this is the biggest mistake when choosing your solar installer.
People like yourself decide to install solar panels to produce the energy that they were buying from the utility at a higher price. By investing in a solar system, you will be saving thousands of dollars. However, this assumes that the system will always work properly and no additional energy will need to be purchased from the utility ever again.
Therefore you must consider these two prerequisites of a successful solar investment:
- How long will it take to recover the investment?
- How can you protect this investment?
To calculate how long it will take to recover your investment, you need to compare the cost of the investment against your electricity cost from your utility, commonly called the “payback period”. Let’s say your solar panels, after tax credits, cost $15,000 and you were paying a $250 monthly average for electricity. You will recover your investment in 5 years (without accounting for the annual utility rate increases).
But the most important requisite is how to protect your investment. For this, you need to understand your solar installation warranties.
Many companies just rely solely on the manufacturers’ warranties. But not all companies handle faulty equipment the same way. When a company guarantees your energy production, it is in their best interest to make sure the system is always working properly. This includes constantly monitoring the system and prompt replacements of any equipment. Because if the system is malfunctioning, they will have to reimburse you for the shortage of any energy less than what was guaranteed.
But if a company only offers the manufacturer warranties and doesn’t help you with the RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) for the replacement of the faulty equipment, you could end up with weeks or even months of a reduction or complete loss in energy production until the equipment it is replaced. For example, with a SolarEdge system, if the inverter fails the whole system will be down until it is replaced. We have seen cases where this takes months leading to costly payments having to be made to the utility while the customer waits for their replacement.
For this reason, GreeMpower created a Premium Protection Plan that guarantees your solar energy production. We originally created this plan for our commercial customers to protect the payback period of their investment, which is now available to our residential customers.
We recommend that you work with a company that stands by their installations with their own warranties. And be wary of companies who only offer manufacturer warranties along with below-market pricing.