Warranty Fulfillment And Manufacturer Reputation
Industry standard: there really isnt one! Reputation and warranty fulfillment standards/processes vary from company to company.
Lets say you need to submit a warranty claim how easy is it to do so? And can the manufacturer stand by their warranty?
When comparing one solar panel warranty to another, consider the following:
- How old is the company providing the warranty? Theres a difference between a 100-year-old company offering a 25-year warranty, and a 5-year old company offering a 30-year warranty and both exist in the solar industry. Is it a bankable company, and do they have their own insurance policies or escrow that ensure their warranties will be upheld even if they go out of business?
- Who is on the hook for actually fulfilling the warranty? Does the manufacturer have a parent company or subsidiary who backs the warranty, or processes claims?
- How easy is it to make a warranty claim? Does the manufacturer allow you to submit the claim directly, or do you need to contact your installer to do so? Does your installer need to come out to your property and perform a diagnostic assessment prior to submitting any claims?
Unfortunately, answers to the questions above cant always be found in warranty documents. But weve started publishing some manufacturer and warranty reviews that answer these questions for top manufacturers!
Check Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
Keep in mind that warranties dont typically cover damage from intense storms, fires, or other natural disasters. Therefore, make sure your homeowners insurance policy covers your installation. Most policies do cover solar systems but confirm with your agent that this is the case for your policy. Also, it might be necessary to increase the policys limit to ensure that your new solar system is adequately covered.
Guide To Homeowners Insurance For Your Solar System
Solar Panels are a great investment for your home. Solar can increase the value of your home, save you substantially on your utility bill, and allow you to have the energy independence you deserve. However, one of the most important things to consider is, how will you protect your investment? Although Solar Topps prides itself on using premium products backed by premium warranties, its important to consider how you can have your system covered by your insurance policy.
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What Is An Umbrella Policy For Solar Panels
In some states, utility companies require customers to carry liability insurance if they generate solar power. By requiring liability insurance, the utility is protecting itself from legal expenses caused by a customers net metering system malfunctioning.
Generally speaking, the larger your system, the more liability coverage youll have to carry. In Florida, for example, homeowners with solar panel systems greater than 10 kilowatts in size are required to carry $1 million in liability coverage.
Although homeowners insurance includes personal liability coverage, most companies only let you carry up to $500,000 of it, so where do you find the other half a million in coverage? By purchasing a personal umbrella policy.
Personal umbrella insurance provides policyholders with additional liability coverage that goes beyond their home and auto insurance coverage limits. In the event that your home or auto insurance liability limits are maxed out during a claim, your umbrella policy will kick in to cover any additional liability expenses.
This coverage is typically offered in increments of $1 million and up to $5 million, with a base policy costing around $300 a year.
Whats The Difference Between A Home Warranty And A Manufacturers Warranty
Generally, a manufacturer will include a limited-time guarantee on its systems or appliances as an incentive to purchase its products. This warranty covers both parts and labor for repairs for a specific period. Its common for these enhanced guarantees to come with an additional fee and may not be as effective as the limited warranty that is sold with the equipment.
Home warranty coverage wont disqualify systems or appliances based on age or brand name. Rather than focus the guarantee on only a specific piece of equipment, a reputable home warranty provider offers full-home protection in an affordable, comprehensive bundle. In most cases, home warranty coverage will not include equipment with a manufacturers guarantee as covered items, until the warranty expires.
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Getting An Additional Insurance Policy For Solar Panels
There are situations where youll need to add additional coverage or buy a separate policy to cover your solar panels. For example, youll need a separate policy if your solar panel system is not attached to your homes roof and is instead ground-mounted in your yard, wall-mounted on a separate surface, or mounted on a carport.
Solar panels that are directly attached to your house will have insurance coverage under your homeowners policy. But every insurer handles their policies differently, so be sure to contact your insurance agent to determine the best course of action.
Get Solar Panel Insurance
Solar panel insurance coverage is included in most homeowners insurance policies, which means no separate solar panel insurance is needed. Solar energy systems and the rooftop panels or tiles are largely considered a permanent attachment to your property, similar to a patio or a security system. Its important to note that some policies may exclude damage to these attachments when it’s caused by a particular threat, such as wind.
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Are Solar Panels Covered By Home Insurance
A custom-designed solar PV system, and the renewable energy that it generates for your home, is an environmentally friendly asset that should last for decades. If you are considering installing solar panels on your home, wouldnt you want to know that your new energy assets will be protected against the unpredictable?
The technicians here at Boston Solar are responsible for over 4,000 solar installations throughout Massachusetts from the North and South Shores, the greater Boston area, and Central Mass over the last 8 years. We regularly get questions like, Do we need insurance when installing solar panels? and, Do solar panels affect your house insurance? So, here are the things you need to know about home solar panel insurance before you make the decision to switch to renewable energy for your Bay State home.
Solar Panel Insurance: The Bottom Line
The only way to know if the price of your homeowner’s insurance will increase due to the solar panels is to speak with your insurance agent.
Discuss your plans with your insurance company before you schedule a consultation for installation. If they donât cover the panels, you’ll want to start shopping around for a new policy before installing the panels.
If they do cover the solar panels, listen to your agent’s suggestions. They may recommend increasing the coverage limits to protect your investment, in which case, make sure to ask about current discounts.
Request obligation-free quotes from solar installers near you!
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Should I Get An Extended Solar Warranty
Extended warranties vary from 5 to 15 years. If your solar panel only has a 10 year warranty, you could buy a 15 extended warranty to make it 25 years. And if you have a 25 year warranty, why not add another 10 or 15 years for good measure?
These additional warranties cost $300-$500 depending on the duration and coverage. Basically it extends the performance and workmanship coverage. There are advantages and disadvantages with this, and you have to decide if this is worth it.
- Security and peace of mind
- No need to look for solar repair services
- Could be cheaper than costly yearly repairs
- Makes a home more attractive to potential buyers
- Its an added cost
- May not be required for new solar panels
- Extra charges for inverter and battery coverage
- Doesnt guarantee the panels wont malfunction
If you decide to get an extended solar panel warranty, ask the following questions.
- Are labor and parts included? Ask specifically about the areas you want the warranty to cover.
- Do you have to pay for shipping if the solar panel needs repair?
- How long does repair take? When and how will the panels be returned?
- Can you file a claim anytime?
Solar Panel Insurance: A Guide To Home Insurance For Solar
Installing solar panels is one of the easiest ways to start saving some serious cash on your electricity bills.
But, before installing them, it is essential to find out how solar insurance works. After all, you want to be sure that both your home and your solar panel system are properly covered before the solar panels are drilled onto your roof!
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Your Insurer May Or May Not Cover Damage Caused During The Installation Process
When you call to confirm that your insurer covers solar panels, ask about whether the coverage extends to the installation process. Qualified solar installers will often offer a workmanship warranty that will cover you in the unlikely event that there is damage to your roof or your solar panels as a result of the installation process.
What If A Company Wont Repair Under Your Solar Panel Warranty
Most solar panels come with warranties. Our attorneys are experienced in handling lawsuits to enforce consumers warranty rights, including cases involving residential solar power systems. If youve tried to get a company to repair your solar panels under a warranty but theyve refused, call us at 657-845-3100. We may be able to help. We represent consumers on contingency in most cases, meaning we only charge a fee from the money we win. We dont charge for consultations and dont charge anything to do an initial case evaluation.
Sometimes warranties come from the manufacturer. Sometimes theyre from the installer. And sometimes the panels are installed under a lease where you pay the company that owns the system a monthly fee for the power it generates.
You may have a warranty and not even know it. Warranty law is complicated, but in many states, you dont have to have a contract to have a warranty. If the company you deal with promises a certain performance or makes factual assertions about the productfor example, that the solar panels will produce a certain amount of power, or that they are in good conditionthat may create a warranty even if your contract doesnt say it. You may also have implied warranties, for example, if you are relying on advice from the solar panel installer as an expert in solar panels, or if the solar panels are defective when they get delivered to you.
Have you tried to get the solar company to make repairs?
Solar Panel Warranties: What Installers Need To Know
When going solar, customers invest tens of thousands of dollars. Typically, the most expensive equipment on a solar system is solar panels. But the job of a solar panel is not easy.
They are in the sun day after day, exposed to large temperature swings and extreme weather events. Depending on the climate, solar PV modules must endure hail, ice storms, and even hurricane-strength winds.
Solar panel warranties and homeowners insurance can help protect your customers investment in solar energy. Lets explore this important topic so you can pass relevant information along to solar shoppers.
Solar Panel Warranties Can Be Voided
Without professional installation, a solar panel warranty can become void. DIY installations or work performed by a contractor who lacks industry certification can nullify a performance warranty. Bringing in a company other than the original installer for maintenance or repairs may void both the performance and workmanship warranty.
Failing to properly maintain your solar panels can also cause warranty problems. For example, if trees in your yard block the sun from reaching the panels, failure to keep branches trimmed back can affect your performance warranty.
Ask your contractor for details about specific causes and conditions that might void either type of warranty on your homes solar panel installation.
Is The Inverter Working Properly
Your inverter is the device that converts direct current produced by your panels into alternating current , which you can use in your home.
Therefore, if your inverter is not working properly it might be the cause of underperformance issues with your solar panels.
Common inverter problems that can cause lower energy production are:
- The inverter has a defective component.
- The inverter is overheating.
Do Solar Panels Increase The Cost Of Homeowners Insurance
You may not see an increase in your homeowners insurance premium after installing solar panels on your roof. However, you’ll likely need to raise your coverage limits to account for the replacement cost of your solar panels, which will likely result in some increase to your premium. The additional cost may be considered small compared to the risk, especially when you factor in the location of your solar panels. Because they’re placed outdoors in elevated areas vulnerable to wind, hail, and lightning, they’re at a higher risk of damage.
The average cost of a full solar panel array runs from $15,000 to $25,000, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy. If you live in an area known for severe weather, you should absolutely consider raising your coverage limits to fully protect your panels.
Use A Temporary Protective Cover
Temporary solar panel covers are one of the most effective ways to protect your system from hail damage. There are two types of covers for solar panels: hard shell and padded covers.
A hard shell cover requires special mounting to keep the shell in place. The advantage of using this type of cover is that it does not absorb rain or moisture. Hail storms may also bring rain, therefore, a hard shell cover is a great choice for protection.
A padded cover is softer and more flexible than a hard shell. This type of cover helps dampen the sound of hailstones hitting your panels.
Note: Carefully consider that while your solar panels are covered, they will not be generating solar power from the sun. Hence, you shouldnt keep them covered for a very long time. Remove the temporary covers when the hail storm passes and the sky clears up.
You dont have to cover your solar panels during every thunderstorm or hail storm. After all, most high-quality panels have been tested to withstand light to moderate hail. Exposing solar panels to periodic, light hail every year isnt likely to result in damage. If you live in an area that receives heavy hail, with stones larger than two inches, it makes sense to proactively cover your panels for protection before the storm.
Are The Electrical Connections Clean
You should inspect the electrical connections, exposed wires, and junction boxes for any signs of corrosion.
If there is corrosion anywhere in your system it will be causing a drop in efficiency and your panels wont produce as much energy.
When doing any type of inspection on your system always disconnect the main supply before touching anything. Electrical problems can be dangerous, so be cautious when inspecting your system.
If you arent sure what you are looking for or doing, it is best to have your PV system inspected by a qualified electrician.
Inspect the wiring for defects. In most cases, wiring defects are very hard to notice since it is the last thing people think of looking at.
However, if you are experiencing low output from your panels, it may be due to wiring defects that need to be repaired or replaced. Check all connections and make sure there are no loose wires or corrosion.
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Hail Can Reduce Solar Panel Performance
So what happens when cracks appear on the surface of solar modules after a hailstorm? Damaged solar panels with cracks on the surface will still work. However, these abnormalities can cause solar production to decrease. The panel may not operate at maximum efficiency, output, or voltage. If 15% of the cells inside the panels are damaged due to hail, the unit would achieve 15% less peak voltage. You can easily test this by taking a voltage measurement of the broken panel.
If you catch the issue early, it is less likely that cracks will result in damage to internal components or affect performance. Thats because cracks can cause water, moisture, or debris to get trapped inside the panels over time, which can cause the panel to malfunction or fail prematurely. A cracked surface may also generate hot spots, resulting in fires or permanent damage to internal components.
Not all external cracks will result in reduced performance, though. In some cases, the damage is purely cosmetic or only on the surface.
Insurance Coverage For Your Solar Panels
There is no one single answer when it comes to covering your solar panels with your homeowners insurance it will depend on your insurance company and your current plan. In general, because a rooftop solar panel system is considered a permanent structure on your home, you shouldnt need to take out an additional policy. But there are a few questions you should ask your individual insurance agent when you are getting your solar panels covered, like:
What is the claim limit for my solar panel system?
Are ground-mounted solar panels covered by my plan?
Will adding solar panels affect my premium?
How do I file insurance claims for any damage to my solar panels?
If you are looking to make solar energy a part of your home, you should know your rights as a homeowner, as well as your options for gaining the peace of mind that your renewable energy assets are covered.
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