What you need to know about home battery warranties
Before you buy a solar battery, make sure you completely understand the battery warranty first.
Solar batteries are one of the most important and sometimes delicate components of a PV system. But how do you make sure they’re working optimally and what do you need to know about solar battery warranties?
Since batteries represent a great share of PV system costs, it is important to check the requirements from the manufacturer in order to ensure that you will be able to claim a warranty, should you need to do so.
Here we will address this topic and show you everything you need to know about solar battery warranties.
Aspects to evaluate in a solar battery warranty
The first thing that you must look for in the product warranty of the solar battery is the time coverage.
Today, most lithium-ion batteries cover 10 years of performance, however, you may find other options with 7 or 8 years warranty (mainly lead-acid products).
This is one of the first factors that must influence your decision to purchase a battery.
Number of cycles
Most manufacturers establish two conditions for warranty limits: time or number of cycles.
A cycle is described as a full charge and discharge of the battery.
The higher the number of cycles, the better the warranty.
Solar battery manufacturers are entitled to either repair or replace a damaged battery using a refurbished battery or spare parts.
However, refunds are also possible when you claim a warranty.
Refunds are established with a pro-rated system that covers a specific amount related to a percentage of the capital cost of the solar battery.
This is associated with the amount of coverage that you can access, in accordance with the time in which you are making the warranty claim.
For instance, if you are making a warranty claim in the 4th year of the installation, you might be able to access 70% of coverage from the capital costs of the battery.
On the other hand, if you are making a warranty claim in the 9th year, you may only get access to as little as 20%.
Checking how the pro-rated system of the brand is set up, is essential in order to make an accurate choice.
Conditions of operation
Another very important factor to take into account when checking a battery warranty is to take a look at the conditions that the battery must operate in, in order to effectively make a claim.
Typical conditions are related to the location of the battery.
Batteries can be certified to work in both indoor and outdoor conditions, or only in indoor environments.
Checking the enclosure and making sure the battery is located where it has to be, is essential to making a successful warranty claim.
Ambient temperature limits must also be checked before purchasing a battery.
Batteries are designed to work within specific ambient temperature values. Exceeding such limits will accelerate the degradation of the battery and void the warranty.
Check the temperature limits of the battery that you are thinking of purchasing and compare them with the historical limits of temperature values in your location.
Charge and discharge rates are also very important factors to take into account. These two factors are complicated to evaluate if you are not a qualified technician.
The installer has the responsibility in this case, to design a PV system where the hybrid inverter or charge controller has the specific charge and discharge methods that the battery needs.
Exclusion of warranty terms
Solar battery manufacturers protect themselves against unforeseen or uncontrolled events that are not taken into account during the manufacturing process.
Checking these terms is usually advisable in order to know when you are entitled to claim your warranty and when you are not.
Typical conditions that void the warranty are related to the following:
- Damaged occurred during improper transportation, storage or installation processes by the buyer.
- Repairs or replacing from unauthorized or uncertified personnel from the battery manufacturer brand.
- Damages occurred due to external accidents related to fire, floods, accidental breakage, power surges from the grid, lightning and others
- Installation of incompatible inverters
- Operating conditions according to the brand were not guaranteed during the performance of the battery (charge and discharge methods, ambient temperature, etc.)
- Use of uncertified spare parts to repair the battery
How to claim the warranty
It is also important to know how you can make your warranty claim if you cannot contact your solar installer.
Finding the email addresses or phone numbers from the battery manufacturer will enable you to gain access to the warranty claim.
Warranty claims can be slow if the solar battery brand that you purchase does not have local offices in Australia (or wherever you are located).
Verify that certified offices from the brand are available in your country.
As you can see, there are many factors to take into account when looking at a warranty from a solar battery product.
In theory, your solar installer should know the requirements from the brand and make sure that the battery will comply with them.
However, there is no harm in you making sure as well.
Never purchase a solar battery without looking at the warranty contract first; it could save you a lot of money, problems and undesirable misunderstandings in the future.
Some of the most remarkable battery manufacturers are Tesla, LG, and Sonnen. However, keep in mind that there are many other options available in the market that must be carefully checked before taking out your credit card.