Despite word of significant layoffs, and the ongoing insolvency proceedings of its Germany-based parent company (which the company says doesn’t affect them), SolarWorld Americas Inc., one of the largest U.S. crystalline-silicon solar manufacturers, continues to make moves.
New Warranty Program
SolarWorld also announced more customer protections, which would be crucial in this somewhat precarious position. The SolarWorld Assurance Warranty Protection Program, featuring supplemental protection plans for residential and small commercial customers, includes the standard 20-year product warranty and a 25-year performance guarantee for most solar panels. But in addition to SolarWorld Americas’ product warranty and performance guarantee, the SolarWorld Assurance program provides supplemental, third-party-backed warranties to the system owner with no deductibles.
The Dual Warranty protection plan is for solar panels installed this year, and SolarWorld covers the premium. The Extend Warranty plan covers solar panels installed from 2012 through 2016.
The SolarWorld Assurance Warranty Protection Program is backed by an A.M. Best “A”-rated company and covers systems from 3 to 20 kilowatts. The warranties immediately go into effect in the event that the original factory coverage could no longer be supported; they also are transferable to new system owners.
“SolarWorld has been innovating product offerings for more than 40 years,” said Shane Messer, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “The SolarWorld Assurance Program is another first. By offering this program, we’re providing true, secondary warranties to our customers, with no deductibles, to assure peace of mind.”
SolarWorld also sent word about a double-digit-million-dollar infusion of cash to enable the company to stabilize and optimize operations through 2017 and beyond. In the immediate, lenders of SolarWorld have agreed to forward $6 million in cash to the U.S. company, said Juergen Stein, president of SolarWorld Americas. Stein said the lenders also will permit SolarWorld to sell assets not required for operations and put the proceeds to use in funding operations.
In the near term, the company expects such a sale to result in a total, combined cash infusion in the double-digit-million-dollar range, Stein said.
“This financial reinforcement is good for our customers and suppliers alike,” Stein said. “It means quite simply that we can reassure our business partners that we will remain a reliable force not only in supplying leading solar technology but also in continuing to fight for fair trade in the U.S. market and improving market conditions there.”
— Solar Builder magazine