Warranties and Insurance
Most solar electric systems come with a 25-year output warranty, but maintenance may be required to comply with a manufacturer’s warranty. Inverter warranties are usually 10 years, and consumers can reasonably expect to have to replace the inverter during the life of the system. Since these warranties don’t cover workmanship/installation, consumers may wish to consider a yearly maintenance contract if available. Most homeowner insurance policies will cover the systems; check with an insurance agent to be sure. Also, be sure to ask an insurance agent if there could be any installation issues that could affect coverage for the roof, such as roof penetrations during system installation.
Proper maintenance of a system will keep it running smoothly. Most vendors recommend a yearly maintenance check by the installer, but consumers should carefully review the maintenance instructions shown in the system manual with the system provider. Systems with electronic components usually require replacement parts after 10 years.
If a property owner is doing work on their own home, they must abide by Residential Home Builder laws. It is recommended to have a roofer, if the roof membrane is punctured, and an electrician to perform the electrical work.
Solar Resiliency Resources
The US General Services Administrations’ Green Proving Ground (GPG) studied how to design, install and maintain solar electric systems so they are more likely to survive severe weather events. After the 2017 hurricane season, GPG hired the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to conduct post-storm field inspections in order to better understand why some solar electric systems failed, while others survived. Based on these field observations as well as others in the aftermath of hail storms, strong winds, and flooding, LBNL created guidance to help agency managers identify the most common solar electric system vulnerabilities and the actions that can be taken to prepare for them.
- Green Proving Ground - PV Resilience Website
- PV Resilience: Addressing Weather Vulnerabilities
- Weather Vulnerabilities Checklist
- Pre- and Post-Storm Checklist
Although solar panels could easily last 25 years or longer, every project must consider the ultimate disposal of the solar installation.