SunPower strengthens its solar panel warranty

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SunPower is boosting its warranty, guaranteeing power performance and product quality for 25 years, through extreme weather, wide-ranging temperatures, panel aging and more.

The company now guarantees at least 98 percent power for the first year, followed by a maximum degradation rate of 0.25 percent each year thereafter for 24 years. This results in a 92 percent power level at the end of 25 years compared to conventional solar panels which guarantee only 80 percent after 25 years.

“We believe the best warranty starts with having the best product,” said Tom Werner, SunPower President and CEO. “Our proven performance is validated by our customers’ results, as well as extensive field testing under a wide range of real-world conditions, well beyond traditional industry specifications. SunPower stands behind its products so that customers have confidence and peace of mind when they choose SunPower to go solar.”

In partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, SunPower has developed a robust method to calculate solar panel degradation. Degradation is something all solar panels experience, but at varying rates. When this method was applied to eight years of energy performance data from 264 SunPower solar systems operating at various locations worldwide, it shows that SunPower panels degrade less than 0.25 percent per year – 50 percent less than the annual degradation rate for conventional panels.

How one PV module manufacturer wants to meet the needs of homeowners

Unlike conventional solar warranties that typically cover just the panels, SunPower’s Complete Confidence Warranty also includes the servicing needed to repair or replace defective parts when panels are installed by one of SunPower’s 1,300 Authorized Installers worldwide.

For residential solar customers, the new coverage provides 25-year protection for every core component of the SunPower Equinox system. Introduced in 2016, the Equinox system is the nation’s first home solar solution in which every major component has been designed and engineered by one company to work seamlessly together, delivering unbeatable power, long-term performance and premium curb appeal. This includes panels with integrated microinverters and racking, as well as 10-year coverage for monitoring hardware.

SunPower’s Complete Confidence Warranty is effective as of July 1, 2017 and is available to all customers for their SunPower E- and X-Series solar panels.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarWorld Americas launches new Warranty Protection Program, receives cash infusion

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

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 Americas now decides to join Suniva’s 201 trade petition

Cash infusion

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

Panasonic backs up high-efficiency HIT solar modules with 25-year warranty

Panasonic Eco Solutions North America took a big step forward in guaranteeing the long-term viability of its HIT high-efficiency photovoltaic module, with the introduction of one of the longest product workmanship warranty in the residential solar industry. The warranty for HIT panels now extends to 25 years, backing up the claim that high-efficiency solar panels are a long-term investment and that they should be treated as such.

panasonic modulesPanasonic first entered the solar industry in 1975 and has been revolutionizing solar technology ever since. The innovative heterojunction technology was unveiled in 1990, and Panasonic has meticulously advanced and perfected this high-efficiency solar panel since its inception. With an extensive history in the industry, this product workmanship warranty is the latest example of Panasonic standing behind its products and offering unparalleled guarantees for customers.

“At Panasonic we are proud to not only offer top-of-the-line residential solar panels that will provide huge savings for our customers, but to also stand behind those products and ensure their longevity,” said Dan Silver, President, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America. “This 25-year warranty and industry-leading temperature characteristics give our installers yet another asset when advocating for Panasonic HIT® panels to customers.”

RELATED: Why high-efficiency modules are the best value for installers, homeowners 

While most conventional solar panel manufacturers offer 10-year product warranties, Panasonic not only offers a product guarantee that is more than twice as long, but it also now guarantees 91% of rated power over the 25-year warranty, a figure that is significantly better than any other solar module on the market today. Over four decades of R&D, rigorous quality standards and 20 years of mass production have resulted in Panasonic’s well-earned reputation for extreme reliability and exceptional performance.

The HIT photovoltaic panel also features an industry leading temperature coefficient of -0.258%/C, which reflects recent test results from a 3rd party safety organization. This speaks to the ability of the panels to maintain optimal performance even in high temperature. Panasonic’s unrivaled 25-year product warranty, coupled with this advanced temperature co-efficiency standard, will make the HIT high-efficiency photovoltaic module a secure and profitable long-term investment for homeowners across the country.

— Solar Builder magazine

Unirac bumps warranty to 25 years on several solar mounting systems

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Unirac, Inc. now has a new 25-year product warranty for Solarmount, Sunframe Microrail (SFM), Roofmount and Unirac Large Array (ULA) product lines. The new warranty took effect on February 28, 2017.

“We seek to provide the most innovative industry-leading solutions to our customers. Unirac now has one of the longest warranties for a racking manufacture in the solar industry,” said December Cowen, Unirac Director of Product Management. “Unirac is excited to offer this to the resellers, installers & consumers of our products. Our goal is to instill the highest level of consumer confidence.”

Unirac is the only PV mounting vendor with ISO certifications for 9001:2015, 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007, delivering the highest standards for fit, form, and function. These certifications demonstrate a high level of excellence and commitment to first class business practices.

“The cornerstone of our success is rigorous testing procedures, proven manufacturing processes and a robust quality control program. Our new warranty confirms Unirac’s commitment to developing and manufacturing the highest quality products,” said Todd Ganshaw, Unirac Director of Product Development.

Unirac’s new 25-year warranty now matches or exceeds many module manufactures’ warranties, allowing Unirac to become part of a systems’ standard warranty package. For more information about Unirac’s new product warranties, visit

— Solar Builder magazine

SnapNRack extends product warranty to 20 years, enters UL Data Acceptance Program

SnapNrackSnapNrack, owned by Sunrun, produces residential solar mounting solutions engineered to optimize material use and labor resources and improve overall installation quality and safety. SnapNrack residential solar mounting solutions are designed for composition shingle, tile, metal and flat membrane roof types, as well as ground systems.

This week, the company had a bunch of updates concerning its certifications and warranties.

UL 2703 updates

For starters, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works accepted SnapNrack’s S100 UL 2703 Integrated Grounding System for Solar Installations. SnapNrack achieved its UL 2703 Listing for Series 100 and Series 200 systems in April 2014, where system components have been tested by UL for electrical continuity and certified as a sufficient ground path, eliminating the need for additional grounding hardware.

Furthermore, Series 100 is UL Listed as a Class A fire rated system when installed with Type 1 and Type 2 modules. The UL 2703 Listing is a significant benefit to installers of SnapNrack product, as it usually means:

• An Integrated Grounding System
• Overall Reduction in Material Costs
• Dramatic Reduction in Labor
• Improved Quality & Safety

In addition, the company’s Santa Cruz, Calif., R&D test facility is now a qualified participant in the UL Data Acceptance Program. Under the UL program, SnapNrack is allowed to directly submit results from in‐house UL 2703 testing, which expedites the approval process by eliminating lab scheduling conflicts.

UL’s Data Acceptance Program provides a means for UL to accept externally generated test data in support of UL Mark certification. To qualify, SnapNrack’s R&D test facility was required to have the appropriate equipment, quality systems and qualified engineering personnel needed to conduct testing, equivalent to what would be used in UL’s own laboratories for the same testing.

“Being a qualified participant in the UL Data Acceptance Program provides SnapNrack increased control over the timing and schedule of our product testing and certification program. Providing UL with a data sheet ready package at the time of submittal eliminates test time and allows UL to decrease the turnaround time for our projects,” said Chris Oestreich, Sr. Director, SnapNrack.

RELATED: 2016 Solar Mounting/Racking Guide: Product Showcase 

Increased warranty

Next, SnapNRack doubled its limited warranty on its Series 100 Roof Mount and Series 200 Ground Mount products from 10 to 20 years at no additional cost to their customers. The increased warranty further reinforces SnapNrack’s position as a high quality manufacturer of Solar Mounting Solutions.

“Whether our customers are selling solar energy systems, or the power they produce, they can rest assured that SnapNrack mounting products are designed to be strong, safe and reliable for life of the system,” Oestreich said.

— Solar Builder magazine