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 battery warranty of a company that's quietly played a strong role in the solar industry for quite some time: Tigo.
Tigo has been developing module-level power electronics (MLPE) – like power optimizers and rapid shutdown devices – technology since 2007. The company was founded in Silicon Valley with the goal of increasing the adoption and performance of solar energy systems. Over the past 15 years, they've excelled in the commercial solar industry. On the residential side, their MLPEs have been installed alongside many inverter brands, like SMA and Sol-Ark.
In 2021, Tigo launched a series of products, including a new inverter, an automatic transfer switch/communication system, and a solar battery that signaled their intent to make strong headway in the residential industry. Their storage system, called the EI Battery, boasts a strong 11-year warranty.
Tigo's battery warranty at a glance
|Product and performance||11 years or 6,000 cycles||10 years, plus a cycles or throughput clause|
|End of warranty capacity||65% at year 11||60% at year 10|
|Labor for repairs/ replacements||No||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes||No|
|Transferability||Yes, no fee||Yes, no fee|
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 ever installed. Regardless, it's good to consider products with longer warranties for the peace of mind it provides.
Tigo includes an 11-year product warranty for all of their batteries. You can review and compare Tigo'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 battery use – 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: oftentimes, manufacturers will guarantee a fixed product term OR a minimum number of cycles, whichever comes first. This means if you hit the warrantied 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 will sometimes define a "cycle" differently–i.e., how much your battery needs to be drained and charged for it to be considered a "cycle?"
Tigo defines a "cycle" as full discharge and recharge and includes a warrantied number of 6,000 cycles for all of 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, this means that the warranty is valid until the battery stores and delivers 30 MWh–or 30,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)–of energy. Similar to a cycle life warranty, throughput warranties typically only apply if your battery delivers a set amount of energy before its warranty period is up.
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 number of cells to get total throughput).
Tigo does not include a throughput warranty for their EI Battery.
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.
As you're comparing the end-of-warranty capacity ratings across various batteries, higher percentages are better than lower percentage guarantees.
Tigo includes an end-of-capacity rating of 65% for all of their batteries – while this is less than some end-of-warranty capacities on the market, it's important to remember that Tigo's warranty is 11 years in length (as opposed to the 10-year industry standard). This means that by the end of your warranty, your battery should still have 5.85 kWh (9 kWh * 0.65 = 5.85 kWh) of capacity.
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. In fact, 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 on their own workmanship warranty for a limited number of certified installers in their network. Tigo does not currently include a workmanship warranty for their batteries.
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 Tigo's warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your equipment, Tigo 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. If you can't get in touch with your installer, or if they've gone out of business, you can contact a Tigo technical support representative directly to evaluate and troubleshoot the problem. You'll need to provide Tigo with the following information:
Model and serial number of the defective equipment
Detailed description of the defect
Tigo system ID number
If a Tigo technical support representative is unable to resolve the problem in the field, you'll need to send Tigo a return merchandise authorization (RMA) request. For the RMA request, you'll need the following:
Either the dated purchase receipt or the dated invoice to show proof of your purchase
Your shipping address
If you do end up needing to ship your EI Battery to Tigo for repair or replacement, keep in mind that you'll have to ship the entire battery unit unless you have prior written authorization from Tigo.
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 costs for diagnostics, repairs, or replacements
Many manufacturers cover replacement parts at no extra cost but don't pay for the labor costs necessary to re-install that equipment. Unfortunately, Tigo does not cover labor costs.
Shipping of parts
Similarly, not all equipment manufacturers will pay the costs to get equipment to you – but Tigo will cover shipping for any repaired or replaced equipment, though you may have to pay any value-added tax.
Every warranty has its exceptions – Tigo's is no different. Warranty limitations aren't meant to make it harder for you to take advantage of the offering; companies simply try to protect themselves from unjust or unreasonable claims.
Here are a few things that aren't covered in your Tigo EI Battery 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 fire, earthquakes, freezing, lightning, etc. Fortunately, the hardware is pretty durable and can withstand most storms without the added protection. Even better, should damage occur during a storm, many homeowner insurance policies cover damage to solar-plus-storage systems.
Installation in conditions that violate the Tigo EI Battery installation manual.
Products with the original trademark or serial number defaced, altered, or removed.
Superficial or cosmetic defects that don't impact the performance of the battery.
Transferability: as long as your equipment remains in place, you can transfer your Tigo warranties to new owners of your system for no cost, provided the system is not moved outside its original location of installation, and any reinstallation follows the installation instructions and use guidelines.
Bankability: while Tigo Energy is a privately held company, it is bankable, has been in business since 2007, and has 84 patents and monitors over one GWh of daily energy production.
Escrows/insurance policies: Tigo does not currently carry an insurance policy or an escrow account to back up their warranty.
Eligibility: some manufacturers require customers to permanently connect to their monitoring system in order for their warranty to be valid, including Tigo. You'll need to ensure that you maintain the Internet connection for all of your battery system components throughout the warranty period for it to be valid. However, if you fail to maintain this connection, Tigo will still honor your warranty for five years (as opposed to 11 years).
Customer reviews: another critical aspect of understanding a manufacturer's warranty offering is investigating how their customers feel about their equipment and the services that they provide. Any warranty can look promising on paper, but how the installer or manufacturer performs when honoring their warranty is also critically important. If you are interested in reading Tigo'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 easily compare 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 have a preference for one type of equipment over another–Tigo or otherwise–, simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.