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Solar panels - hidden costs in maintaining warranty cover

  • 19-05-2023 2:45pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4


    I have been considering a Solar PV panel installation in my 2 story home. Initially I was impressed by warranties of 20 to 30 years on the panels themselves. However when I examined the specific T&C's for some sample manufacturers, they have some very specific ones noted which caught my eye:

    1. The system should be inspected every year, or every second year by an approved inspector.
    2. The solar panels should be professionally cleaned either once or twice per year by a professional cleaner.

    The costs to adhere to the above is obviously significant, especially for 2 story house where either scaffolding or a Picker would be required by a professional to carry out these tasks. Two different companies, with two sets of charges etc. All properly documented.

    See sample T&C's below:

    Solarwatt does specify regular cleaning and maintenance of their solar panels as a condition of warranty. The end customer must ensure that the solar modules are cleaned and maintained regularly and professionally in accordance with the installation instructions and the applicable standards. The end customer must also keep records of the cleaning and maintenance activities and provide them to Solarwatt upon request. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in the warranty being void or reduced. Therefore, it is important to follow the cleaning and maintenance guidelines provided by Solarwatt and keep your solar panels in good condition.

    Has anyone else have experience of this area ?

    All feedback or advice welcome !



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,374 ✭✭✭DC999


    Ignore that tbh. There’s so little to fail on the panes themselves. And worst case if they didn’t honour the warranty, you’d replace just the dead one out of your own pocket. That’s ~150 quid now per panel. Basically what I’m saying is you’ll end up paying more to ‘mind’ a system that costs a tiny amount to replace if / when stuff dies.

    You can understand that manufacturers need to put in some conditions so end users can’t take the p1ss and wreck stuff and claim a warranty. I bet if I read the same small print on my washing machine warranty I'd have to do X, Y and Z. Or insert in any end user device.

    In the year I’m on this forum, I’ve never seen anyone here mention professionally washing panels X times a year. It’s Ireland, storms 'professionally' wash them many times more than that :)

    I will never do either of those (wash or get an annual inspection), unless there is a suspected fault and would get it checked by the relevant skillset. 

    And go for it and get quotes. I'm live 10 months now and pretty much have free electricity for 6 months of the year which includes charging our EV. I'd deffo recommend it, once you can get sensible quotes



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,395 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Yeah I inspect them every so often, look at the roof and ensure the same number of panels are up there

    Cleaning is handled by the rain, what it lacks in professionalism it makes up in quantity

    Although a bird sh@t all over one of the panels a few days ago and it's been dry since. Need a downpour to get my panels nice and clean again

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,270 ✭✭✭✭kippy


    This type of thing is standard with a lot of warranties. Especially ones this long.

    No doubt if you are trying to replace a warranty under these circumstances you wouldn't be able to unless you could show proof of maintenance etc that is if you could find the panel manufacturer or installer.

    In relation to replacing the panel yourself for 150 quid, good luck getting a single panel procured and installed for one fifty bucks.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4 borntoride72000


    Thanks for feedback guys, appreciate it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,006 ✭✭✭beachhead


    I got a new gas boiler installed.Same as you a service reqd every year for 10 yrs to maintain warranty.The boiler will last at least 30 years before replacement.10 yrs of service visits would be a big chunk of another replacement.Inflation included.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4 borntoride72000


    I've reached the conclusion that my decision to invest in solar energy for my home needs to exclude any consideration about warranty. Effectively, unless one follows the warranty conditions (which are never referred to by installers, and one has to go digging into the solar panel manufacturer's sites to find them), a customer has no real warranty, if the system develops real problems later.

    Even with no VAT and the SEAL grant it will take approx 7-8 years for my ROI to realise (depends on electricity price trends in the future).

    Meanwhile in Ireland, we continue to enjoy the highest electricity rates in Europe. I've a number of work colleagues based in different European countries who are paying 40 to 50% less than we are in Ireland for their electricity supply, despite the fact their rates have trebled since the Ukrainian war started.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Can't figure out if your saying your not going to get a solar installed or just that your not factoring in warranties. Your post isn't clear on that part.

    I wouldn't look at other countries rates and what not. Sure - it's annoying that we pay a lot more for electricity than our european counterparts, especially considering we have one of the greatest natural resource (wind) in Europe, but ultimately it's a decision on

    "Will it save me €€€ in a reasonable timeframe - and I guess is it good for the wider issues, i.e. environment?"

    Course different people will have different evaluations, but 7-8 years is approx 12-15% return on investment. If you can get a bank to deliver that up, let me know.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4 borntoride72000


    Your point on the 12-15% return on up front cash outlay is a good point when compared to other investment options, other than property.

    My point on the warranty offered on the solar panels is that it's legally null and void if there's a serious problem untried unless you can demonstrate clearly you've adhered to the T&C's.

    I expect I will decide to invest, just going through all the pros and cons first.

    Thanks for feedback.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,374 ✭✭✭DC999


    Another way to look at is that the (max) 2.4k grant covers potential warranty issues.

    Honestly, it's in my nature to be a worrier. But I don't believe warranty issues will mean I regret getting solar. There are people here that are years into solar and I don't recall seeing much about warranty issues.

    You're right to pro and con it of course.



  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,518 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk


    It's the inverters that tend to give the bother not the panels.

    But the companies are pretty good with fixes/replacements



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