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Watch out for 5+5 warranties on solar inverters

Watch out for 5+5 warranties on solar inverters

The warranty on your solar inverter is the most important of all the warranties for your solar panels system. Both the brains and workhorse of your solar system, the inverter is also the part that’s most likely to fail.

At SolarRun, we strongly advise customers to purchase solar inverters that come with a minimum 10-year full warranty for parts and labour. If budget allows, spending a bit more to get an inverter with a 12-year warranty is well worth it.

Anything less than a 10-year parts and labour warranty for a solar inverter is a risk, in our opinion.

What’s fascinating is that one of the so-called premium European solar inverter brands hasn’t woken up to the importance of providing a no-quibbles full 10-year warranty.  Why this is the case, we can’t even begin to imagine!

This post describes a particular type of solar inverter warranty which you need to watch out for.  It’s called the 5 + 5 years warranty – and it’s one we strongly advise you avoid.

In the real world, 5 + 5 equals 10.  So why is it that some solar inverters with a 5 + 5-year warranty are not offering 10 years of equivalent value?

We’ll explain:

  • What the 5 + 5-year solar inverter warranty includes – and what it excludes
  • Costs you could be up for
  • Examples of better solar inverter warranties

What’s included and excluded in the 5 + 5-year solar inverter warranty

Before we get started on what’s included and – more importantly – what’s excluded in the 5 + 5-year solar inverter warranty, here’s something else to watch out for….

You don’t even get this (very basic) warranty unless you register the inverter on the manufacturer’s website. What’s more, you need to provide the exact documentation they’ve requested, or you’ll be back down to a bare-bones 5-year warranty.

It’s one of those admin tasks that we all want to avoid.  So, when you pay a premium price, why does the inverter manufacturer make you do this?

We have no idea.

We reckon that asking customers who’ve paid a premium to do boring paperwork isn’t providing premium customer service.  Much better is to provide a comprehensive product warranty upfront, without requiring any further effort from the customer.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a comparison table showing what’s included and excluded in the typical 5 + 5-year solar inverter warranty.

The 5 + 5-year solar inverter warranty: what’s included and what’s excluded

 What’s includedWhat’s excluded
First 5 years·         Replacement parts

·         Labour

·         Transport costs

·         Installers labour for on-site repairs
Second 5 years·         Parts

 

·         Labour – manufacturer

·         Labour – installer

·         Transport costs

 

As you can see, the second five years of a 5 + 5 solar inverter warranty don’t cover you for labour costs or transport.  This can easily mount up to several hundred dollars, with the biggest cost likely to be labour.  That’s because you’ll need a CEC Accredited Installer to fix or replace an inverter – and they have a high charge-out rate!

Whilst you can hope that your premium inverter won’t go wrong, this is a high-risk strategy.  Much safer is to select a quality inverter that has all this covered as standard within their warranty terms and conditions.

Costs you could be up for

What costs could you be up for if your inverter stops working?  Under the 5 + 5-year warranty, the costs are approximately as follows:

  • Average repair fee: $200 + GST (this doesn’t reflect the fee for exchanging an inverter)
  • Average transport fee: $210 + GST
  • Average costs for on-site repairs / replacement: this will depend on your solar installer, whether they provide a system guarantee which covers you for this cost and whether they also charge travel and how much this is (typically per kilometre)

As you can seem there are several unknowns in these cost estimates. This leaves you exposed to bigger-than-expected bills to get the inverter working again.

Factor in the higher electricity bills you’ll receive when your inverters being repaired, and the financial loss from a malfunctioning inverter that’s not covered by a comprehensive warranty is even higher.

Fortunately, there are better alternatives on the market – and they don’t necessarily cost more!

Examples of better solar inverter warranties

The best solar inverter warranties on the market will cover you for 10 years parts and labour – sometimes even 12 years.  Depending on the damage, the inverter will either be shipped back to the manufacturer to repair, or a replacement will be shipped to the customer’s premises.

SolarEdge provide one of the best solar inverter warranties on the market with the following features:

  • 12-year parts and labor
  • Either send a replacement inverter, repair the damaged inverter or issue a credit note for the value of the inverter
  • Shipping costs to the customer’s property paid by SolarEdge

As one of the top four Clean Energy Council Accredited Solar Retailers in Australia, SolarRun has a direct purchasing relationship with SolarEdge and other leading inverter manufacturers.  The benefit of this to you is, that when we make a claim on your behalf, the response time is very fast.  With SolarEdge, replacement products are normally shipped within 48 hours to our customers in Australia.  This is quite extraordinary in the world of solar!

Get in touch for a quote

If solar energy is on your to-do list, get in touch with us today for expert advice and an obligation-free quote.

SolarRun is a CEC accredited Solar Retailer.  We only sell the leading brands, and we know which inverters and panels have the best warranties. Plus, we can help you with the various government solar rebates that are currently available.

 

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