When buying solar panels, it’s easy to get tempted by retailers offering huge warranties, sometimes up to 30 years. However, there’s a catch, and it pays to know the ins and outs of solar panel warranties. So, what is linear performance warranty?
Let’s say you’re comparing two local solar panel installation companies, and one boldly claims that their panels come with a 25-year warranty. The other installer says they offer a 12-year product warranty. If you’re like most people, you’d jump at the longer warranty period. It gives you faith that the products are amazing since the installer backs them for such a long period.
However, if the solar company is telling you these things, it’s best to take that with a grain of salt. Because when you buy solar panels, there are actually two different types of warranties. The companies who don’t mention this aren’t telling you the whole truth. Read on to find everything you need to know to answer the question of “what is linear performance warranty?”
Types of Solar Panel Warranties
There are two types of warranties for solar panels. It’s important to know the difference because they mean very different things. The good thing is, you get both warranties. It’s not a matter of choosing between the two. However, you need to understand what each warranty means before getting too excited.
Product or Equipment Warranty
Firstly, all solar panels come with a standard product warranty. This is the type of warranty you’d expect when buying any product. It covers against manufacturing defects, should something go wrong with the panel. Generally, this warranty covers the frame, the glass protecting the top of the panel, the EVA glue that holds everything together, the solar cells themselves, and the connectors that transfer energy from one panel to the next.
The standard around Australia is about 10-12 years for a product warranty. This protects you against accelerated wear and tear, faulty components and everything else you’d expect from a product warranty. The warranty period depends greatly on the product, however. For example, Jinko Tiger N-Type solar panels purchased from Captain Green come with a 20-year product warranty. The Q Cells Q.Peak DUO-G6+ Solar Panels from Captain Green come with a 25-year product warranty.
Again, it’s all down to the individual manufacturer, with some offering a longer product warranty than others.
What Is Linear Performance Warranty?
Linear performance warranty, or limited power warranty, is an entirely different beast. Hence why you’re asking the question of “what is linear performance warranty?”. It can be confusing. It’s not uncommon for this warranty to run for 25 or 30 years, which sounds super-impressive if you don’t mention the actual product warranty is shorter.
All solar panels degrade over time, and this affects the module’s efficiency. The degradation isn’t enormous, so you shouldn’t panic that you’ll lose heaps of power with every passing year. However, the degradation does occur and efficiency does decrease.
The linear performance warranty tells consumers by what percentage a module’s efficiency should decrease over time. So, it guarantees a certain percentage of the optimal output will still be achieved after a certain amount of time.
It’s important to remember that this doesn’t refer to the amount of solar energy your system can produce. Obviously, there are other factors affecting this. The linear performance warranty guarantees that each panel has the capacity to produce a certain amount of power.
Two Time Periods?
You may find some solar panel manufacturers provide a stepped linear performance warranty. In fact, these warranties are sometimes broken into two timespans. So, a manufacturer might guarantee 90% production capacity at 10 years, and then 80% at 25 years. This is quite standard for linear performance warranties.
Why Do Solar Panels Degrade Over Time?
A number of things can affect the efficiency of solar panels over time. There are several external elements that contribute to solar panel degradation over time, such as UV exposure and climate changes.
Some solar panels also suffer what’s known as Light Induced Degradation (LID), which occurs when the panels are first exposed to solar radiation. This usually happens in the first few weeks of operation and decreases efficiency by 1-3%. It’s important to note, however, that this only occurs with cheaper p-type solar panels. If you choose the more efficient, yet more expensive n-type panels, LID won’t occur. So, when considering the solar panel cost, you should weigh up the improved efficiency of the n-type panels over time.
Ultimately, wear-and-tear comes in many forms, but normal environmental factors are covered in the linear performance warranty. Should your solar panels’ performance degrade due to manufacturing faults, you have the product warranty to back you up.
How To Keep Solar Panels Functioning To Capacity?
Solar panel cleaning is one way to keep your system functioning well. Solar panels and the frames holding them in place are manufactured to be very low maintenance. Rain usually washes away any dirt or dust build-up, but it’s still important to check. If you’re unsure how to clean solar panels, seek some expert advice before you head up to the roof with a handful of cleaning chemicals!
To keep your solar panels clean, wiping them with water should be enough to remove any dust or dirt. In some cases, you can even use your hose, rather than climbing onto the roof. Never use harsh or abrasive products, because you can scratch or damage the glass. If you live in particularly dry climates with very little rain, you may find a need to clean your solar panels more regularly.
The other important thing to check is the electrical components themselves. It’s worth having your solar panels checked once a year by industry professionals. Usually, the company that installed your panels will offer an annual solar health service. Not only is it great to ensure your panels are working well, but if you do experience greater-than-expected degradation and you need to call on your linear performance warranty, you can prove that you’ve maintained the panels to the manufacturer’s standards. If you’d like to learn more about Captain Green’s solar panels or “what is linear warranty?”, get in touch with our friendly expert team today.
If you want to install solar panels in Australia, give Captain Green a call today on 1300 361 682. Our experts can find the perfect solar panel system for you, and we’re always up-front and honest about warranties.