Let's face it – warranties aren't the easiest (or most gripping) documents to read. There are often a lot of details and fine print included that can be hard to digest, leaving many to wonder: what does the warranty actually cover? Am I vulnerable? Anything I might be missing?
To make it as easy as possible, we've read warranty documents for the top solar battery manufacturers, talked to them to confirm what is and isn't included, and plan to point out the most important aspects of each in a series of articles. In this article, we'll review the warranty from FranklinWH, a company that entered the storage industry in 2019.
Offers coverage for 12 years, 6,000 cycles, or 43 megawatt-hours (MWh) throughput (whichever comes first).
It covers shipping but excludes labor.
Guarantees 70% end-of-warranty battery capacity.
Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar-plus-storage options from local installers.
FranklinWH was founded in 2019 and solely focused on storage with an emphasis on smart home technology. While they are new to the solar storage industry, they have the backing of large venture capital companies, including Sequoia Capital. Their two current products are a battery with a built-in inverter, the aPower, and an energy management device, the aGate.
The aPower battery hit the market the same year the company was founded and came with a 12-year, 6,000 cycles, or 43 MWh throughput warranty (whichever comes first). FranklinWH guarantees that the battery will maintain at least 70 percent of its capacity to hold a charge during that period.
FranklinWH's battery warranty at a glance
|Product and performance||12 years, plus a cycles/throughput clause*||10 years, plus a cycles or throughput clause|
|End of warranty capacity||70% at year 12||60% at year 10|
|Labor for repairs/ replacements||No||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes||No|
|Transferability||Yes, no fee||Yes, no fee|
* The warranty period begins on the installation date or twelve months from the manufacture date, whichever comes first.
A battery manufacturer's product and performance warranty covers the integrity and output of the equipment itself. If your battery system has a defect or experiences unreasonable degradation, that should be covered by your product warranty. If there's a defect with your battery, you or your installer should be able to tell that something is amiss and fix the problem immediately–often before the battery is installed. Regardless, it's good to consider products with longer warranties for the peace of mind it provides.
FranklinWH includes a 12-year product warranty for all of its batteries. You can review and compare FranklinWH's batteries in the EnergySage Buyer's Guide.
You'll also notice that many battery warranties will include a clause suggesting that your term may be cut short depending on your use of the battery – this is where cycles and throughput come into play.
Every time you drain and charge your battery, it's called a "cycle." Like the battery inside your cell phone, your solar battery will gradually lose its ability to hold a full charge the more you use it. Because of this, some manufacturers guarantee a minimum number of cycles as part of their warranty agreement. But read this line carefully: manufacturers often guarantee a fixed product term OR a minimum number of cycles, whichever comes first. This means if you hit the warranted number of cycles before your battery hits the end of its warranty period, it could end your warranty term. The confusing part here is that manufacturers sometimes define a "cycle" differently–i.e., how much your battery needs to be drained and charged for it to be considered a "cycle"?
FranklinWH includes a warrantied number of 6,000 cycles for their batteries.
Another clause that some manufacturers will put on their warranty pertains to throughput: the total energy a manufacturer expects the battery to deliver throughout its lifetime. Companies state these warranties in terms of megawatt-hours (MWh). For example, if your battery company provides a throughput warranty of 30 MWh, the warranty is valid until the battery stores and delivers 30 MWh–or 30,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)–of energy. Like a cycle life warranty, throughput warranties typically only apply if your battery delivers a set amount of energy before its warranty period.
Throughput numbers will vary quite a bit depending on the overall storage capacity of your system. Additionally, if your battery system contains several different battery cells–or modules–within it, your warranty may state a throughput by cell (which you can multiply by the number of cells to get the total throughput).
FranklinWH includes a throughput warranty of 43 MWh for their 13.6 kWh battery (i.e., 3.16 MWh per kWh.
In addition to providing cycle or throughput warranties, most manufacturers also promise a certain level of performance by the time your warranty is up. This often presents itself as an end-of-warranty capacity rating.
Higher percentages are better than lower percentage guarantees when comparing the end-of-warranty capacity ratings across various batteries.
FranklinWH includes an end-of-capacity rating of 70% for its battery. This means that your battery should still have 9.52 kWh by the end of your warranty.
Battery companies should cover a replacement battery if you need it during their warrantied term–but while the manufacturer may cover your replacement part, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll cover the labor costs to re-install that equipment. Many manufacturers do not reimburse for labor associated with diagnostics, replacements, or repairs of their products.
More often than not, installers are the sole party responsible for providing workmanship–or labor–warranties for your battery installation. However, some manufacturers offer additional protection by tacking their own workmanship warranty for a limited number of certified installers in their network.
FranklinWH does not currently offer a workmanship warranty for its battery. You can learn more about manufacturer endorsements and how they impact installer warranty offerings in this article.
Ideally, your storage system will continue operating smoothly for 10+ years, and you never have to worry about FranklinWH's warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your equipment, FranklinWH will be there to help.
If you notice an issue with your battery, your first phone call should be to your original installer: having designed and installed your system, they are the most equipped to diagnose (and fix!) any potential issue. Warranty claims can be made by phone or email. You will need proof of battery ownership (or transfer of ownership), a description of the defects, and the serial number. It's also important to know that if your inverter needs to be replaced, FranklinWH prefers to replace the whole unit to avoid repair risk and avoid troubleshooting time.
When it comes time for any repairs or replacements, there are two additional warranty considerations you'll want to keep in mind: labor and shipping costs.
Labor cost for diagnostics, repairs, or replacements
Many manufacturers cover replacement parts at no extra cost but don't pay for the labor costs necessary to reinstall that equipment. FranklinWH is one of those companies – their aPower warranty does not cover labor associated with uninstalling or reinstalling repaired or replaced equipment.
Shipping of parts
Similarly, not all equipment manufacturers will pay the costs to get equipment to you – but fortunately, FranklinWH isn't one of them! They'll cover the shipping of any covered replaced or repaired products.
Every warranty has its exceptions – FranklinWH is no different. Warranty limitations aren't meant to make it harder for you to take advantage of the offering; companies try to protect themselves from unjust or unreasonable claims.
Here are a few things that aren't covered in your FranklinWH warranty:
Acts of nature – this is a common one – most battery system manufacturers will not cover any damage caused by extreme weather events outside their control, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc. Fortunately, the hardware is pretty durable and can withstand most storms without the added protection. Even better, many homeowner insurance policies cover damage to solar-plus-storage systems if damage occurs during a storm.
Installation in conditions that violate the FranklinWH aPower installation manual.
Normal wear and tear and any superficial defects that do not impact the aPower's performance.
Transferability: The FranklinWH battery warranty is transferable to new owners if the battery is not removed from the original install location.
Bankability: FranklinWH is a startup founded in 2019 that has the backing of several large venture capital companies.
Eligibility: Some manufacturers require customers to permanently connect to their monitoring system for their warranty to be valid. FranklinWH's warranty only applies to systems registered at the time of installation and does not disconnect from the internet for more than a month. FranklinWH offers a limited four-year warranty from the installation date if these conditions are not met.
Customer reviews: Another critical aspect of understanding a manufacturer's warranty offering is investigating how customers feel about their equipment and the services they provide. Any warranty can look promising on paper, but the installer or manufacturer's performance when honoring their warranty is also critically important. If you are interested in reading FranklinWH's reviews, you can do so here.
Finding the right storage system for your home means comparing multiple quotes from solar installers. Using the EnergySage Marketplace, you can find local solar installers near you and make easy side-by-side comparisons of all your solar-plus-storage options, including equipment. By shopping around first, you can find the right option at the right price – warranties and all. If you prefer one type of equipment over another – FranklinWH or otherwise – note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.