Solar systems are made as a long term proposition, and luckily there are generously long warranties on the components in a solar system.
The panels often have a 10 year product warranty and a 25 year performance warranty.
The inverters often have a 10 year product warranty.
So, for an investment that might have a 5-7 year paybck period and a 25+ year intended lifespan, it would seem that all is well.
Except that… these warranties are easily voided.
In order for someone to warrant the output of a panel for 25 years, they need to put conditions on how it is installed. If these conditions are not met, then you don’t have a warranty.
This system on the NSW Central Coast was one we drove past last week and we noticed almost immediately that it was not installed correctly.
The panels have been attached to the tilts (rails) at the wrong spot which means over time the frame will flex, microcracks will occur in the cells within the module, they will deteriorate, and there is no warranty. All because an installer didn’t know -or ignored – the instructions.
We don’t mention this to pour scorn on a competitor. We don’t know who installed it. What we do know is that most companies take shortcuts.
In many cases, the customer will not know. At least not until it’s too late.
If someone were buying a new car, and drove it home with no warranty I am sure they’d be absolutely distressed. With solar, it happens a surprising amount and noone is concerned.
Recently we’ve also seen inverters which were mounted on a wall in such a way that they also voided their warranty.
There is also a main brand of aluminium framing which is extremely common, and when you look carefully in the installation guidelines you find out it is not certified for trimdeck roofing (it is OK for cliplok and colorbond). This rail is used extensively in commercial systems and no doubt installed daily on trimdeck. Thus, voiding its own warranty.
At Epho, our main concern is designing and delivering a system that delivers long term performance and simply does what it is meant to do.