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Do you know the difference between a solar panel manufacturer’s product warranty and the performance warranty? It would seem that many people are confused and I for one don’t blame them! There are many solar retail companies that advertise a 25 year warranty on their solar panels and this is wrong.

Firstly, the product warranty is the easy one to describe and the only warranty that I believe is important to consumers. This warranty is defined as the solar panel makers Limited Product Warranty.

The limited product warranty for most solar panels being sold in Australia is 10 years. In simple terms this means “A warranty with certain conditions and limitations on the parts covered, type of damage covered, and/or time period for which the agreement is good” Thus in respects to solar panels – the panels are said to be covered for 10 years from the date of installation against any manufacturing defects.  This includes the frame which provides structural rigidity to the panel, the glass which protects the top side of the panel, the EVA which is the glue that binds all the components of the panel, the cells where sunlight is converted to electricity and finally the junction box and connectors which transfers energy from one panel to the next.

Where some solar companies mislead consumers is on the limited Power Warranty or performance output warranty. This is the 25 year warranty offered by most solar manufacturers. Solar Panels will degrade over time and this warranty serves to tell the consumer what percentage rate a manufacturer’s module efficiency will drop by over time. This may be in the form of a limited power warranty which will state that after 10 years and then 25 years  – a solar panel manufacturer will guarantee that their solar panel will produce X amount of power as a percentage of peak minimum or a Linear power warranty which plots a linear curve of power loss over 25 years.

An example of a power warranty by Yingli Solar on their YGE series solar panel.  Yingli Solar states that their limited Power Warranty is 10 years at 91.2% of the minimal rated power output and 25 years at 80.7% of the minimal rated power output.

You may ask what is “minimal rated power output” and the answer is that is minimum amount of power that their panel WILL produce under peak conditions when first installed. The reason they use minimal as that relates to the actual rated efficiency of the panel which affects how many watts the solar panel will produce. Manufacturers won’t say maximum as most solar panels have a positive power tolerance and that means they could produce a little bit more than their rated output.

Now hopefully you can understand the complexities of the 25 year warranty otherwise known as the solar panel power (performance) warranty over your normal product warranty. My belief is that it is good for solar manufacturers to state that their panels are likely to last for over 25 years but it is wrong for retailers to refer to this as a selling tool and that is purely because the consumer may be mistaken for thinking that their solar panels are warranted against any defects for 25 years!

Nearly all solar panels being sold in Australia from 2012 onwards come with a 25 year performance warranty as standard as well as a 10 year product warranty. So, how does the consumer differentiate between the many solar brands as to what is genuine and what is shall we say ‘RISKY’?

The answer is simple. When you are looking to buy from a retailer make sure that they give you a warranty certificate that is underwritten against Australian consumer law.  The warranty certificate must state “Our goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under Australian Consumer Law

To protect yourself, make sure that the solar panels are imported into Australia by an Australian registered company. The warranty certificate offered by the solar retailer must be supported by the 100% Australian registered company that imported the panels. The last thing that you want to be doing is dealing with a Chinese company official who ‘speaks no English’ if you have a warranty claim. You want to be speaking to the the Australian company that imported the solar panels.  Therefore – make sure that you have the contact details of the Australian office that will process any warranty claims in the event that the retailer or installer is not around to service the warranty claim. Make sure that the full Australian address and contact details are shown on the warranty certificate

I hope you liked my article. If you have any suggestions on any solar topics you would like explained or simplified please do email me: info@coffssolar.com.au

 

Mark McClurg – Managing Director, Coffs Solar Energy

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Very happy with the service and product provided. Received a few quotes from other businesses, but so happy we decided to go with a local business. Will definitely recommend Coffs Solar Energy to others.
Corey Witten
Corey Witten
10:12 23 Nov 18
Very pleased with our solar installation. The system was explain and options provided. The trades were on time and did an excellent job. Nice to use locals rather than the other cowboys. Thanks Coffs Solar Robert Shackletonread more
Robert Shackleton
Robert Shackleton
05:44 12 Nov 18
This is exactly the sort of competent, considerate, polite, and thorough organisation one needs in a field like solar energy. They know what they are doing, and go about it in a most professional manner. They have partnered with internationally recognised equipment manufacturers to give the very best value for money in this competitive field. Coffs Solar puts marginal and fly-by-night solar companies to shame by setting and living up to the highest standards.read more
Donald Kaiser
Donald Kaiser
02:10 07 Nov 18
I found the staff at Coffs Solar Energy very professional, friendly and easy to communicate with. They helped us through the process of installing and switching to solar at an investment property we own and helped us navigate the process easily despite the fact we were not in-country at the time. I would highly recommend their services for anyone considering installing solar.read more
fiona o'meara
fiona o'meara
01:27 23 Oct 18
Recently Coffs Solar Energy offered to donate and instal a 4.95kw rooftop system, with 18 panels and a top quality inverter, to Pete's Place, a drop-in centre in Coffs Harbour run by St Vincent de Paul Society. The set-up took place like clockwork on Oct 2nd, and the system will save us around $2000 per year. Pete's Place gets around 30 visitors a day, and provides bathroom & laundry facilities, light meals and help in accessing govt services. We are immensely grateful to MD Mark McClurg (2nd from right in pic, with Chris Thompson and Pete's Place Manager Dave Tilson and Vinnies Special Works Manager Linda Williams) and his highly professional team at Coffs Solar Energy. This project has been a great community partnership involving Vinnies, Coffs Harbour City Council, Rotary and local tradies, and now this wonderful benefactor. Thanks to everyone.read more
Robin Osborne
Robin Osborne
02:48 03 Oct 18
We chose Coffs Solar primarily because they were local, the reviews were unwaveringly positive and because the MD chose to deal with us personally...we did not regret it. Our dealings with Coffs Solar Energy via the Managing Director Mr. Mark McClurg were always professional and pleasant. Mark made the choice easy for us, he made the process easy for us. He answered every email, phone call and contact promptly. His timelines were deadly, always....if there was to be a delay his ultra-efficient delightful PA, Suzanne would reach out to us with the relevant message. Mark and his team made the paperwork a breeze. If the information was not available, it was researched and delivered to us, quickly.The installation was frighteningly quick. The team led by the head solar electrician Chris, arrived promptly at the appointed hour and we had solar by 1400hrs. Nick the IT Guru, was another pleasant experience.....he arrived a few days later and connected us to the web with a remarkable app to monitor the performance of the Inverter. A word about the hardware...do not skimp on the inverter...get the "Fronius". Thank you Mark, Suzane, Nick, Adam, Chris, Karen and the rest of the team. More grateful, happy customers.read more
Andre Delfos
Andre Delfos
01:26 17 Sep 18
We found Mark and his team to be very efficient and effective. Solar panels were installed for our apartment, which is situated in a 60 plus complex. A project with a deal of complexity. From the start of receiving the competive quote up until the commissioning of the installation we were kept fully informed on the progress of the project. Mark suggested options for us when any issues did arise. The team at Coffs Solar showed an extremely high degree of knowledge in their products and were always a pleasure to deal with. Highly recommended.read more
Terry Gillespie
Terry Gillespie
09:25 10 Sep 18
I have worked with Mark and his team for some time now on Commercial Solar projects and find Coffs Solar to be loyal, trustworthy, efficient providing an outstanding product and service.
Deanne Payze
Deanne Payze
05:57 29 Aug 18
Delighted with our solar panels and battery installed by Mark McClure and the great deals from Powershop. Winter just got a whole lot warmer for us
jean urquhart
jean urquhart
09:30 03 Jul 18
Take my hat off to Mark from Coffs Solar, sent through an enquiry and they kindly advised that they did not service the Banora Point region but instead sent through recommended contacts within my area along with all the information necessary for me to get the proper quote and installation. What amazing service from a company that could not complete the install for me. I can only imagine the level of service they would provide to customers within their installation territory. Highly commendable and could not thank Mark enough for his time!read more
Ross McInnes
Ross McInnes
07:50 03 Jul 18
With the continuing rising cost of electricity i made the decision to install solar. I obtained quotes from a number of providers but also wanted to deal with a local company so that i had back up service in the future giving me piece of mind. Not only were Coffs Solar extremely competitive they were also excellent in there advise on what i needed. There was also no question on the quality. The install went smoothly and most importantly neatly. The installers even painted the conduit cable to match the external wall colour. (i had spare paint but appreciated that i didn't have to climb up a ladder later to do the job). The panels have been in place for a number of months now and working perfectly. i love the app which i can use which shows how much solar energy is being produced compared to the amount i am using. I am looking forward to a much different electricity bill. I would have no hesitation in recommending Coffs Solar to do your solar installation.read more
Michael Parry
Michael Parry
04:30 18 Jun 18
Excellent customer service. Very informative, and follow up was reassuring. Highly recommend this company.
Tracey Kean
Tracey Kean
05:28 04 Jun 18
We can highly recommend Coffs Solar Energy from the sales through to the presentation of the warranty pack. The professional conduct and efficiency of this company takes us back to the 80 and 90s when a company took pride in its name and the people who worked with it . Thank you to Nick for the sale to Rod for the finalization and the crew who put it all togetherread more
Wayne Evans
Wayne Evans
04:02 29 May 18
For me the decision to go Solar was an easy one, but the solution was not. Over the nearly year long process Coffs Solar had all the answers and were always prompt, courteous and efficient. My experience as a Computer Engineer with experience in Battery Backup systems for large data centres gave me insight into the technical challenges to be faced. Coffs Solar was not the only company I talked with along the way, but when it came to the crunch with difficult questions, they made sure they had the technical aspects sorted. To begin with, the site suffered a LOT of shade intrusion from large trees. With advice from Coffs Solar the worst offenders were cut out. The next challenge was that the main house roof had limited North facing roof area which was already occupied by the Solar Collector for Hot Water. Coffs Solar proposed a solution consisting of East and West facing Panels on the main roof area. Along the way this was modified to a two inverter system with East-West facing panels on the house and North Facing panels on the shed. When it came time to do the installation, the Coffs Solar install teams were efficient, courteous and professional. The install took a day and a half and was all completed with a minimum of fuss and great attention to detail. Special thanks to Nick for bearing the brunt of all my questions along the way, and also to Mark for putting together a great team. I believe that the end product is something that Coffs Solar should be very proud of.read more
David Bruce
David Bruce
21:04 09 May 18
Great service, quick response to enquiry and excellent product. They were all very helpful, well presented and knowledgeable. All of the rebate stuff was handled by them and they even came back after install to help us understand how to get the best out of our system.read more
Peta Jardine
Peta Jardine
01:27 16 Apr 18
I can’t recommend Coffs Solar highly enough. Their sales, explanation, and follow up was fantastic. We were also very happy with the pricing with the reassurance that we were dealing with a local reputable company who would still be around for the life of the warranty. We were hounded by some of the lower cost companies.....don’t waste your time and money!! We are very internet savvy and did thorough research and background checks. We came across some very dodgy practices with virtual offices in Sydney with phone calls directed automatically to India. We heard tales of backpacker installers, demands for bank cheque payment on the day of install, company name changes which invalidates the warranty if you get one at all....and finally being taken to court for rebadging inferior panels. Is it really worth the risk?? It’s a serious investment and I’m sure ,like us, you will have plenty of questions as you go through the process. You can phone India every time or keep it simple and get immediate help every time from great office staff by calling Coffs Solar who are also fully accredited (not many are!) There.....we did the work, we got the stress, we got the headaches so now you don’t have to. Cheers Melread more
Mel Locking
Mel Locking
23:43 09 Apr 18
We have had our solar panels for a year now & we are happy to share that they have most definitely made a difference with reducing our energy bill. Being very sceptical at first & cautious Mark explained the benefits these panels would have for us. He not only placed them with great precision but he also explained the what's, when's and where's to us. We are extremely HAPPY with the decision we have made & most importantly happy to have dealt with Coffs Solar Energy and what they stand for. We have had multiple questions and they have answered all with no complaints. We applaud you and are grateful for such an outstanding job that you have done.... Thank You Mark !read more
Janice Pietralunga
Janice Pietralunga
09:28 22 Mar 18
We recommend Coffs Solar Energy without reservations. We had solar panels erected. They went out of their way to carry out the job efficiently, and with as little fuss as possible. We encountered some problems with our electricity company - they took control and helped us out tremendously. They are just wonderful!read more
Angela Sattler
Angela Sattler
05:01 14 Mar 18
Beware! Turns out someone is running a scam using the company’s name and reputation to hold online interviews. Not sure if actual company is at fault or not. But their intentions for saying the are hiring in the U.S.A is to scam people out of their personal information. Please never send your personal information over the internet just because someone emails you a w-2 form. They promised over the top wage and once confronted stopped responding. Went under the name Karon Hurren in google hangouts. and another fake email usually you can tell the fraud emails with the generic make of the a first name and last name followed by numbers. Be careful and beware. However as for the legitimacy of the actual company it seems as if it is a real one with a reputation that it cares for. Which is why I shall not negatively review it and still warn others.read more
Cole Stalvey
Cole Stalvey
01:47 13 Feb 18
Excellent firm to deal with. Very good pricing, on time with quotes, installation and commissioning. everything about the entire system clearly explained, and where necessary demonstrated. highly recommended.
Paul Boekenstein
Paul Boekenstein
05:05 27 Nov 17
We recently had Mark and this team from Coffs Harbour Solar Energy install additional panels on our roof. The install was complex due to moving of the original panels and installation of additional strings to optimise system performance. The team worked tirelessly to get the desired outcome. We would highly recommend Mark and his team to anyone wanting Solar. Great job - Thanks Paul & Louise Austinread more
Paul Austin
Paul Austin
23:36 08 Oct 17
Coffs Solar Energy doesn't just provide good products and value for money, but also (very importantly when it comes to something that can be quite complex), their customer service goes above and beyond expectations. They patiently answered all our questions and explained all the different options in a way we could understand. We feel we made the right decision and I would happily recommend this company to anyone on the Coffs Coast looking for a solar PV system.read more
Micky Stuivenberg
Micky Stuivenberg
06:13 04 Oct 17
Excellent advice prior to installation on which panels to use on my heavily treed block. Installers not only turned up on nominated day but were actually a few hours early. The professionalism of the install was amazing down to the smallest details and the whole system works well. Follow up was also good and provided advice on insurance and other matters. Very highly recommended.read more
David Lance
David Lance
05:15 01 Sep 17
We have been planning this for years, so we spoke to many people in the trade. We had a lot of advice some ranging from wildly inaccurate to wholly accurate. The most reliable came from Coffs Solar Energy we think. So we did a multiple quote and Coffs Solar came in in the middle range. However, their advice, open honesty and recommendations from people we know, led us to believe cheapest wouldn't be best! We were proved right. We are very happy so far with every aspect from planning to installing and support. Coffs Solar Energy are definitely the goto for no BS, good quality advise, installation and workmanship.read more
Nigel Hiller-Garvey
Nigel Hiller-Garvey
01:03 13 Aug 17
Dealing with these guys was a really great experience. They designed a system for our house that would suit our needs. As far as workmanship goes they are the best. Timely, neat and professional Could not more highly recommend a solar supplier. I have to say thanks guys. Had a small issue with my inverter and Coffs Solar came to the rescue. No problems and job fixed in a very timely fashion.... Fantastic !!!!read more
Rod Hurren
Rod Hurren
22:38 03 Aug 17

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