The last time you shopped for something electronic and you made the purchase at Best Buy, hhgregg, Staples, etc., it’s very likely the cashier asked if you wanted to purchase an extended warranty. I always decline because I expect what I buy to work for a good long time with a minimum five to ten years. Today’s electronic products such as the TV, washing machine, computers do not make it beyond four or five years. You probably have heard the term “engineered obsolescence”. Nevertheless, I’m still not going to purchase an extended warranty. I still have longevity expectations of my electronic purchases. So, how about solar electric systems?
Very different. A solar electric system, by comparison, is engineered for a very long working life with few service interruptions over several decades of seamless, quiet, and automatic power generation. To back this up, there are of course warranties. Most warranties for solar panels are for 25 years. Solar panels must be capable of handling a wide spectrum of extreme environmental conditions. If we use North Carolina as an example, a solar system is likely to be exposed to year after year temperature ranges from as cold as <19°F to as hot as >145°F. The same solar equipment must be able to handle even more extreme conditions than presented in NC. Solar panels have some power degradation over time and manufacturers have done well to lower the power degradation levels and keep performance high. This power performance is backed up and spelled out in the warranties. The typical power warranty is split into two numbers such as 10/25 or 12/25. The first number, 10 is years and means the panel is warranted to generate 90% of its rated power at year 10. The second number, 25 means the panel is warranted to generate 80% of its rated power after the remaining 15 years.
The other major piece of equipment in a solar electric system is the inverter, which converts the solar module generated power from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current) electricity. Warranties for this equipment are typically for ten years. However, the trend is now to extend the inverter warranties beyond 10 years. In fact, some inverters now have warranties that match panel/module warranties of 25 years.
The bottom line is solar equipment is made well and designed to operate for a great many years. Considering the extreme environmental conditions solar equipment must operate under, the quality and performance of solar equipment might just be unmatched in the electrical and electronics equipment world.