What is the difference between a performance warranty and product warranty?
If you looking into buying a solar power system, you may see two types of solar panel warranties on offer, these being the performance warranty, or the product warranty. So what are the differences between the two, and which is the better option?
Well a solar panel performance warranty is designed to protect you against the performance degradation of the cells in your solar panels over a certain period of time, typically being 25 years. This type of warranty will state, that the cells in your panel will likely degrade by a certain acceptable percentage over a period of time, and if the panels are not performing to that stated level of performance, then you can claim this warranty. Although this sounds great in theory, this performance warranty comes with many different strings attached, and they can be nearly impossible claim. And even if you do end up paying for the removal and testing of the panels to prove it's a performance issue, and in the rare event that company actually does pay up, then you'll most likely still be out of pocket anyway. So as a general rule of thumb, just ignore the performance warranty, it's something looks and sounds great, but it's actually pretty meaningless.
You can't claim a warranty if the manufacturer has disappeared, and in the solar industry, many solar panel manufacturers have.
A product warranty on the other hand is what protects you against product defects, workmanship issues or problems caused in the manufacturing of the panel. This type of warranty is much like the warranty you would get when you buy a new car, or electronics, or home appliances, and it's a warranty this is protected by Australian law. If a solar power system is promoted as being something that's going to last you 25 years, then your Product Warranty should also be 25 years. So the bigger and better the solar panel product warranty, then the safer your investment is going to be.
Make sure you choose panels not only with strong product warranties, but ensure the manufactures that are going to be there in years to come to back it up. You can't claim a warranty if the manufacturer has disappeared, and in the solar industry, many solar panel manufacturers have. So choose carefully, otherwise you'll be the one stuck with the problem, and there will be nothing to protect you.