Solar Insure: Everything you need to know
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Solar panels are built to last at least 25 years, but a lot can happen within that time. You may have wondered what happens if there is an issue with your panels after the warranty is up or if your solar installer goes out of business. Although it’s rare, these scenarios have happened.
This is where Solar Insure comes in. Solar Insure’s mission is to provide solar homeowners with an added layer of protection for their panels with a third-party warranty backed by one of the globe’s largest insurance companies.
Let’s give you the rundown of how Solar Insure works and if it’s worth the cost.
In a nutshell, Solar Insure provides you with a 30-year policy for monitoring and warranty protection on your renewable energy project.
The company was started in 2006 by Ara Agopian in Costa Mesa, California, with a vision to provide those who invest in solar energy projects with peace of mind that they will always be covered if anything with their system fails or their solar installer goes out of business.
Solar Insure is backed by Zurich North America, a reputable insurance company, so homeowners can feel confident that their Solar Insure warranty will be honored. The company previously partnered with NABCEP, the leading solar industry certification non-profit.
It’s pretty simple: you can purchase Solar Insure’s protection policy through your local installer when you install solar panels, so long as the installer is a Solar Insure partner. You’ll pay a one-time payment for the Solar Insure monitoring and warranty included in the total installation cost.
If there is an issue with your system, you can alert your solar installer, who will organize the necessary repairs. The installer will submit an invoice to Solar Insure for any balance not covered by the manufacturer. If your installer or the manufacturer is no longer in business, you can work with Solar Insure to get help from one of their partners.
Solar Insure’s monitoring and warranty package includes:
Solar Insure’s warranty is longer than a typical 25-year solar panel warranty and covers additional costs, like replacement labor, that are typically outside the scope of a manufacturer’s warranty.
If you have a Solar Insure agreement, you also get protection if your solar installer goes out of business. You can contact Solar Insure directly and get help from one of their partner installers.
Solar Insure has a separate warranty offering for solar battery systems. Most battery manufacturers offer a warranty that guarantees the battery’s capacity will be no lower than 70% after ten years or after a certain number of cycles.
Under Solar Insure’s third-party battery warranty and monitoring package, the battery is covered for 20 years for battery repairs, parts, and labor associated with covered repairs. It also covers a complete battery replacement if the capacity falls below 30% between years 11 and 20, which is a pretty sweet deal. But, we don’t know the specifics of Solar Insure’s battery coverage and if it stipulates how the battery is charged or discharged.
Major batteries like the Tesla Powerwall, the Generac PWRcell, and Enphase’s battery system can be covered by Solar Insure’s warranty. See what battery systems are eligible on their approved vendor list.
Solar Insure released its newest program, SolarDetect, in November 2023. SolarDetect is designed to help homeowners whose solar installers have gone out of business. The 10-year program provides monitoring and warranty support for a monthly fee, so if something goes wrong with your system, you’ll have someone to contact to fix it.
SolarDetect is currently a pilot program available in Utah, California, Texas, and New Mexico. It is only available for solar systems installed by a company that is no longer in business and cannot be retroactively applied to systems that are already malfunctioning.
If your solar installer has gone out of business, SolarDetect is a great way to keep your system covered and save you a potential headache down the road.
Solar Insure costs roughly $0.10 per watt of solar installed, but the actual price may vary depending on your installer, the equipment used, and the coverage package. For average solar systems in the U.S., you’re looking at a cost ranging anywhere between $400 and $1,600 for Solar Insure coverage.
The total cost you can expect to pay varies with your system size and equipment, so your installer will let you know the full amount when you pay for your system. The price may also depend on if you opt for the extended battery warranty.
Solar Insure only requires a one-time payment that is included with your total system cost when you purchase through your installer, so no hidden fees are included in your total cost.
You can think of Solar Insure as an extended warranty for your solar system.
Solar panels and other solar equipment come with their own warranty from the manufacturer. However, manufacturer warranties for panels, microinverters, and power optimizers only last 25 years. String inverters have a shorter warranty, usually between 10 to 12 years.
Solar Insure gives you additional years of protection beyond what the manufacturer provides. Solar Insure also covers things outside a typical manufacturer’s warranty scope, like the costs to install and deliver the replacement parts.
You can also go through Solar Insure to get replacement parts if the manufacturer goes out of business, and it will help you get repairs if your solar installation company goes out of business too. The company has partnerships with manufacturer brands on its approved vendor list.
Adding the extra cost of purchasing Solar Insure can be conflicting, and you may ask yourself if you need it. Here are a few pros and cons of using Solar Insure that may help you make your decision:
Solar Insure and Sunlight Financial announced a strategic partnership in May 2023 with a common goal: to keep expanding the solar industry.
Sunlight Financial is a trusted financing company in the solar and energy-efficiency industries. Customers who choose to finance their system through Sunlight will have access to Solar Insure’s warranty and monitoring benefits when they invest in solar power.
Sunlight Financial was named one of the most popular solar financing companies in our 2022 Solar Industry Survey. With this recent partnership announced, it couldn’t hurt to look into Solar Insure if you want to take the financing route.
We get it – buying solar for your home is a big investment that comes with a lot to think about. How much protection do you actually need?
When it comes to the equipment side of the Solar Insure warranty, the biggest benefit is that the company pays for some things the manufacturer won’t, like truck rolls and replacement labor. While Solar Insure does offer a longer 30-year parts warranty, most equipment malfunctions will be detected within the first two years of operation, so you will likely still be covered by the manufacturer’s 25-year warranty when a failure occurs.
The battery warranty is a little different. The lithium-ion residential battery market is still somewhat young, so we aren’t as certain about how batteries will operate after their manufacturer warranties as we are with solar panels. The Solar Insure battery package could be a smart choice, depending on the cost.
But where Solar Insure really shines is the peace of mind it gives you in case your solar company goes out of business. The solar industry has had a fair share of shady companies, leaving many solar owners as “solar orphans”. If they need help down the line, their company has up and vanished, and they’re left with nowhere to turn.
In the end, Solar Insure isn’t a bad investment. Buying solar is a huge financial commitment, so it makes sense if you want to have extra protection! But it isn’t totally necessary for everyone. You can avoid some potential issues Solar Insure covers by getting quotes from trusted local solar companies that use high-quality solar equipment.
You can use our home solar calculator to get a cost estimate for your specific home and find trusted solar companies near you!