solar-inverter-warranty

If you've already started exploring your inverter options, you may have noticed that many products come with a 25-year warranty. Simply comparing the length of one warranty term to the next doesn't give you a complete picture: What is and isn't included in a warranty differs quite a bit from one inverter company to the next. Considering how vital a solar inverter is to the functionality of your system, you want to ensure you're covered in case anything goes awry.

We'll review the most important aspects of a solar inverter warranty, discuss what's standard for the industry, and compare warranties for two leading inverter manufacturers, SolarEdge and Enphase.

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Key Takeaways

  • Inverter warranties vary by manufacturer and type of inverter

  • A standard inverter warranty should come with at least ten years of protection

  • Typically, inverter warranties won't reimburse any labor costs associated with installing new equipment, but many popular inverter companies cover shipping fees for new equipment

  • Enphase's microinverters and SolarEdge's optimized central inverters are popular options on EnergySage, with strong warranties.

  • Use the EnergySage Marketplace to get free quotes for solar systems and compare solar inverter options.

Solar Inverter warranties at a glance

CATEGORY
INDUSTRY STANDARD (STRING INVERTERS)
INDUSTRY STANDARD (MICROINVERTERS)
Product (inverter)10 years25 years
Product (power optimizer equipment - for string inverters only)25 years-
Product (communication equipment)5 years5 years
Labor costsNoNo
WorkmanshipNoNo
Shipping of partsYesYes
TransferabilityTransfer feeTransfer fee
Extended warranty offeringNoNo
Limitations and expectationsVariableVariable
Warranty fulfillment & manufacturer reputationVariableVariable

Industry standard: It depends on the type of inverter; most string inverter technologies come with a warranty of about 12 years, while module-level power electronics (like microinverters and power optimizers) often have 25-year warranties. If you install a string + power optimizer solution, your string inverter and power optimizers often have different warranty terms. 

Also known as a materials warranty, an inverter product warranty covers the integrity of the equipment itself. If your solar inverter has a defect or mechanical issue or experiences unreasonable wear and tear, that's where your product warranty comes into play.

As you're shopping around for the right inverter solution, expect each one to come with a product warranty, and of course, longer product warranties are more favorable. Most inverter manufacturers offer at least ten years of coverage under a product warranty, and those that don't provide 25 years of coverage often can extend the warranty for an additional price. 

Module-level power electronics (MLPEs) like microinverters or power optimizers typically have 25-year warranties. If you install a SolarEdge string + power optimizer system, the individual components usually have two different product warranty terms: 12 years for the string inverter and 25 years for the power optimizers.

Another way to consider the various products covered under inverter warranties is where they sit. Power optimizers and microinverters are located on your roof and are typically warrantied for 25 years. String inverters are usually located on the wall (typically warrantied at least ten years). In contrast, for microinverter setups, the envoys, combiners, and aggregators are on the wall (generally warrantied five years).

The communications equipment is typically warrantied five years for both string inverters and microinverters.

Industry standard: most manufacturers do not cover labor costs as a part of their warranty agreement.

As we mentioned above, all solar inverter manufacturers should cover a replacement inverter if you need it during their warrantied term. While the manufacturer may cover your replacement part, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll cover the labor costs necessary to re-install that equipment. Most manufacturers do not reimburse for labor associated with replacements or repairs of their products.

Depending on the installer, this addition–or omission–to a warranty could be moot. Some local installation companies will cover maintenance and repair costs within their own workmanship warranty. Like with equipment, installer warranties vary based on the company and often only cover their own installation work – not maintenance costs for properly-installed equipment. 

While most manufacturers won't pay for labor, some do! Inverter companies with outstanding warranties may cover these costs entirely or up to a certain amount (i.e., all labor costs up to $500). You'll find that sometimes inverter companies will pay for these costs by providing the company that performs the repair (i.e., your installer or another certified contractor in their network) a rebate or check rather than reimbursing you directly.

Industry standard: many top inverter companies–including SolarEdge, Enphase, and SMA–will cover shipping costs for valid replacement or repair claims.

Say your solar inverter breaks, and you can get a free replacement under your manufacturer's material warranty – but what about shipping that part to you?

The top inverter manufacturers like Enphase, SolarEdge, and SMA cover shipping costs for replacement equipment as part of their warranty agreement, so long as the "claim is justified," meaning they've confirmed it's a reasonable claim, and you followed the proper return merchandise authorization–or RMA–process. You may have to pay a shipping tax under certain circumstances.

Industry standard: most solar inverter manufacturers leave workmanship warranties to the installer.

More often than not, solar installers are the sole party responsible for providing workmanship–or labor–warranties for your solar installation – they're performing the actual installation work, after all! It's becoming increasingly common for manufacturers to offer an extra safeguard by tacking on their own workmanship warranty coverage. When applicable, it's typically only an option if you work with specific installers in a manufacturer's certified network: they're putting their brand name and reputation behind their work and want to make sure they can stand by the installer performing the installation.

Industry standard: every warranty–including solar inverter warranties–has limitations and exceptions.

It probably doesn't surprise you that inverter warranties have limitations and exceptions. These limitations aren't meant to make it difficult for you or other customers to take advantage of the offering; ultimately, companies must protect themselves from unreasonable claims. 

Warranty limitations and void clauses vary from company to company, but here are a few to keep an eye out for:

  • Transferability: If someone buys your home, will you be able to transfer the warranty over to them? Will you have to pay a fee to transfer the warranty?

  • Installer endorsement: Do you need to work with a certified installer to take advantage of the warranty offering? If someone outside their network repairs your system, does that void your warranty claim? Is the warranty void if you perform a DIY installation?

  • Re-installing equipment: Are you moving and want to take your solar panel system? This isn't common, but remember that moving your equipment and re-installing solar inverters in a new location will likely void your warranty.

  • Wire and cable coverage: Look for mentions of wires and cables in your terms. Many companies don't provide warranty coverage for these – even if they supply that equipment!

  • Acts of nature: This is a common one – most inverter manufacturers will not cover any damage caused by extreme weather events outside their control, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc. Fortunately, solar panel systems are pretty durable and can withstand most storms without the added protection. Even better, many homeowner insurance policies cover solar panel systems, including inverters, should damage occur during a storm.

Industry standard: there really isn't one! Reputation and warranty fulfillment standards/processes vary from company to company.

Let's say you need to submit a warranty claim – how easy is it to do? And will the manufacturer stand by their warranty?

When you're comparing one solar inverter warranty to another, consider the following:

  • How old is the company providing the warranty? Is it a bankable company, and do they have their own insurance policies or escrow that ensure their warranties will be upheld even if they go out of business?

  • Who is on the hook for actually fulfilling the warranty? Does the manufacturer have a parent company or subsidiary that backs the warranty? Do they process claims internally?

  • How easy is it to make a warranty claim? Does the manufacturer allow you (the product owner) to submit the claim directly, or do you need to contact your installer? Does your installer need to come to your property and perform a diagnostic assessment before submitting any claims? Do you need to ship the defective product back to the manufacturer – and if so, will they cover those shipping costs?

You won't always find answers to the questions above in warranty documents. To help you compare, we've started publishing some manufacturer and warranty reviews for top manufacturers. Your installer can also be an invaluable resource for the inside scoop on warranty claims. 

The second half of this article investigates the differences between warranties for two leading inverter manufacturers, SolarEdge and Enphase.

Deciding which inverter to choose can be complicated, and product warranties make a difference. SolarEdge is the leading power optimizer manufacturer in the United States, while Enphase leads the pack for microinverters. On the EnergySage Marketplace, SolarEdge and Enphase both dominate market share: In the second half of 2021, these two companies were included in over 90% of quotes to homes and businesses shopping for solar.

SolarEdge and Enphase offer strong 25-year warranties for their MLPEs. However, SolarEdge's inverter itself is covered for only 12 years. SolarEdge does provide an option to pay for an extended warranty for its inverters – this might be worth it if you choose a SolarEdge system because central inverters don't typically last as long as power optimizers or microinverters.

SolarEdge vs. Enphase warranties

WARRANTY COVERAGE
SOLAREDGE
ENPHASE
Product (inverter)12 years25 years
Product (power optimizer equipment -- for central inverters only)25 yearsN/A
Product (communication equipment)5 years5 years
Labor costs$125 - $255 labor reimbursement paid directly to installers$125 labor reimbursement paid directly to installers
Shipping of partsYesYes
TransferabilityYes, no transfer feeYes, $399 transfer fee
Extended warranty offeringUp to 20 to 25 years, at additional costNo

Product warranties

If you install a solar panel system with SolarEdge, there are separate warranties to cover each product: 

  • Power optimizers (roof equipment): 25 years

  • Central inverters, meter, and modem (wall equipment): 12 years

  • Communication equipment: 5 years

All of SolarEdge's warranties start either four months from when the products are shipped from SolarEdge or when the products are installed (whichever is earlier). SolarEdge covers between $125 – $225 in labor costs and offers the option to purchase an extended warranty of 20 or 25 years. You can also transfer its warranty easily to new system owners at no charge.

Similarly, solar panel systems with Enphase microinverters have additional Enphase components covered by separate warranties:

  • Microinverters (roof equipment): 25 years

  • IQ Gateway and IQ Combiner (wall equipment): 5 years

  • Communication equipment: 5 years

Most of Enphase's warranties start on the date the products are registered with Enphase or when the products are installed and activated (whichever is earlier).

Activating and using your warranty

If your SolarEdge power optimizer, inverter, or other product has a defect and you need to activate your warranty, you must share your product's serial number, a copy of the purchase receipt or warranty certificate, and a description of the problem.

Once they have verified that your product is eligible for repair under warranty, the company will repair the product (at your property or at their own facility), give you credit towards a new product, or give you a replacement product.

SolarEdge covers the cost of shipping products for repair, as well as some labor and material costs. However, if they need to send someone to repair your product onsite, you may have to pay travel and boarding costs.

If your Enphase product has a defect and you need to activate your warranty, the company will either repair or replace the product or refund you. Enphase's warranty covers the cost of new equipment and shipping products for repair. Similar to SolarEdge, they also cover some labor costs.

Battery warranty

In addition to inverters, Enphase and SolarEdge also offer storage solutions. The Enphase IQ Battery and SolarEdge Energy Bank are covered for ten years. However, if you exceed the cycles or throughput clause for Enphase before the ten years, your warranty will no longer apply, while SolarEdge does not include a cycles or throughput clause in its warranty.

SolarEdge vs. Enphase battery warranties

WARRANTY COVERAGE
ENPHASE
SOLAREDGE
product and performance10 years, plus a cycles (4,000 cycles) and throughput (2.8 MWh per kWh) clause10 years
End of warranty capacity70% at year 1070% at year 10
Labor for repairs/reimbursementsNoNo
Shipping of partsYesYes
TransferabilityYes, with a feeYes, no fee

The inverter you choose will ultimately depend on multiple factors, including its warranty. If you're still considering your options, you can easily compare quotes from local installers on the EnergySage Marketplace to go solar with confidence.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
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  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
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