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 equipment manufacturers–and 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. For our second article in this series, we’re diving into the warranty of a company well-established in both solar and roofing: CertainTeed.
Quick overview: CertainTeed Solar’s history and warranty
CertainTeed is a well-known brand throughout the U.S., especially in the home improvement industry: the company, founded in 1904, produces a range of products, including roofing, fencing, insulation, and, of course, solar panels and shingles.
In 1988, CertainTeed was acquired by Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies. This means that when you go solar with CertainTeed’s products, you’ll be backed by two names with more than 100 years of experience – in fact, Saint-Gobain has been around since the 17th century!
As far as their warranty is concerned, CertainTeed provides a stronger offering than most manufacturers, especially in regards to labor coverage. Unlike most companies, CertainTeed covers all of the shipping and labor costs if you ever need to replace or fix any of their equipment. Best of all, as an owner of a CertainTeed system, your warranty will be all-encompassing: CertainTeed’s warranty covers every major component of your solar panel system, including panels, inverter, and mounts (i.e., racking). This means that CertainTeed covers warranty requests, fulfillment and labor costs for all parts of your solar panel system–not just the ones they manufacture themselves!
CertainTeed’s solar panel warranty at a glance
|Category||CertainTeed's Coverage||Industry Standard|
|Product||10 years||10 years|
|Power||80.2% at year 25||80% at year 25|
|Labor costs||Yes- all labor costs||No|
|Workmanship||15 years for Certified installers, 25 years for Master installers||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes- all shipping costs||No|
|Extended warranty offering||No||No|
- Includes a workmanship warranty (25 years for Master solar installers, 15 years for Certified solar installers)
- Covers replacements and/or repairs at no cost to you
- Is an all-encompassing warranty (i.e. includes every component of your system)
CertainTeed’s product warranty
Also known as a material warranty, a solar panel manufacturer’s product warranty covers the integrity of the equipment itself – if your solar panels have a defect, mechanical issue, or experience unreasonable wear and tear, that should be covered by your product warranty.
If there’s a defect with your solar panel, it’s typically apparent “out-of-the-box”. In other words, you or your installer should be able to tell that something is amiss and fix the problem immediately–often before the panel even makes it to your roof. Regardless, it’s good to consider products with longer warranties for the peace of mind it provides.
CertainTeed includes a standard 10-year product warranty for all of their solar panel, shingle, and tile products.
CertainTeed’s power warranty
Like every other type of electronic, the performance of your solar panels will degrade over time: fortunately, solar panel manufacturers offer a power (or performance) warranty for their products. Power warranties help protect you against atypical degradation of your solar panels, ensuring that the output of your panels won’t fall below a certain level after a set period of time.
Different types of solar panel technologies degrade at different rates. Generally speaking, the highest quality solar panels offer long power warranties (25 years or more) that guarantee at least 80 percent of the original output by the end of the warranty term.
CertainTeed provides a 25-year power warranty for both their panel and shingle technology, which guarantees that their products will still produce at least 80.2% of their original output by the end of the warranty term:
- 97% output at the end of year 1
- No more than 0.7% degradation from years 2-25
- Power output of 80.2% by year 25
You can review and compare Certainteed’s solar panel and shingle product offerings in the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide.
Does CertainTeed offer extended warranties?
Need a little extra protection for peace of mind? Many solar panel manufacturers offer extended warranties for their products. Depending on the company and the product, extended warranties can come at an extra cost, or only be available for certain installers who have been certified and endorsed by the manufacturer.
CertainTeed does not currently offer extended warranties for their solar products.
CertainTeed’s workmanship warranty
More often than not, solar installers are the sole party responsible for providing workmanship warranties for a solar installation. However, some manufacturers offer additional protection by tacking on their own workmanship warranty for a limited number of certified installers in their network – CertainTeed is one of these companies.
CertainTeed provides different workmanship warranty terms depending on the installation company. If you work with a CertainTeed “Credentialed” installer, you can expect a 15-year workmanship warranty backed by CertainTeed. If the installer you choose is one of CertainTeed’s “Master” installers, you will benefit from an extra 10 years of workmanship warranty coverage, 25 years altogether.
You can learn more about manufacturer endorsements and how they impact installer warranty offerings in this article.
How to make a warranty claim with CertainTeed
Ideally, your solar panel system will continue operating smoothly for 25+ years, and you never have to worry about CertainTeed’s warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your solar panel system, CertainTeed will be there to help.
If you notice an issue with your system, your first phone call should be to your original CertainTeed-credentialed installer: having designed and installed your system, they are the most equipped to diagnose (and fix!) any potential issue.
If your installer determines that you need to replace a piece of equipment–like a solar panel– they can file a warranty claim directly with CertainTeed on your behalf. Importantly, because CertainTeed covers labor and shipping costs under their warranty, you don’t need to worry about paying any additional costs to get your system fixed. If, for whatever reason, CertainTeed cannot fix or replace your panel, they will compensate you for reduced solar panel performance (90% of module and associated installation cost, multiplied by the percentage of unused warranty months).
Unfortunately, solar installers can go out of business, and you may find yourself in a position where you can no longer call the business that installed your system for help. In this case, you can work with CertainTeed directly to make a claim. Even in this situation, CertainTeed will cover any costs associated with the warranty claim, including site visits from a new installer to determine the problem, the shipment of any necessary replacements parts, labor for the repair, and, if necessary, work to correct any faulty workmanship done by your previous installer.
It’s worth pointing out that CertainTeed’s labor coverage and reimbursement offer is an outlier in the industry, and a good one at that: most solar panel manufacturers do not cover any labor costs associated with replacing or repairing their products. If your solar panel warranty doesn’t cover labor reimbursement, this cost (and whether you’re responsible for it) will typically fall under the umbrella of your installer’s workmanship warranty. Be aware that workmanship warranties vary from one installation company to the next, so remember to read your installer’s workmanship warranty thoroughly before signing any contract!
Limitations and exceptions to CertainTeed’s warranty
Every warranty has its exceptions – CertainTeed’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 CertainTeed warranty:
- Defects or damage caused by extreme weather events (i.e. lightning, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, flooding)
- Damage caused by unapproved maintenance, repair or alteration
- Installation of CertainTeed products over non-approved roof decks
- Damage from any structural changes or additions made to your roof after your solar panel system was installed
- Cosmetic defects, dents, or markings that do not impact the performance of the products
Finding the right solar panels for you
Finding the right solar panel system for your home means comparing multiple quotes from solar installers. Using the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, you can find local solar installers near you, and make easy side-by-side comparisons of all your solar 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–CertainTeed or otherwise–simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.