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 inverter 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. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the warranty from the leading microinverter company in the industry: Enphase.
Highlights of Enphase’s warranty
- Enphase’s warranty covers their microinverters for 25 years – meaning it will generally meet or exceed the warranty term of your solar panels
- The wall equipment, i.e. Envoy and Combiner, and communications equipment associated with Enphase microinverters are covered for five years under the warranty
- If Enphase determines that your warranty claim is justified, they’ll cover the costs associated with shipping any repaired or replaced equipment and will give installers a labor reimbursement to help cover costs associated with equipment replacements
Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar options from local installers.
Quick overview: Enphase’s history and warranty
Founded in 2006, Enphase has made huge waves in the solar industry by creating the first commercially successful microinverter. As opposed to one centralized string inverter, microinverters work by attaching directly to the solar panels – so, you end up with one microinverter for every individual solar panel.
The nice thing about microinverter warranties – including Enphase’s – is that they generally match (or exceed) the warranty length of your solar panels: 25 years. While some of the equipment that comes with the inverters will only be warrantied for five years, generally this equipment is much easier (and cheaper) to replace than the inverters themselves.
Enphase warranty at a glance
|Category||Enphase coverage||Industry Standard|
|Product (inverter)||25 years||12 years for string inverters, 25 years for microinverters|
|Product (power optimizer equipment – for string inverters only)||Not applicable||25 years|
|Product (communication equipment)||5 years||5 years|
|Labor costs||$125 labor reimbursement paid directly to installers||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes||Yes|
|Transferability||Yes, $399 transfer fee||Transfer fee|
|Extended warranty offering||No||No|
Also known as a materials warranty, an inverter product warranty covers the integrity of the equipment itself. If your solar inverter has a defect, mechanical issue, or experiences unreasonable wear and tear, that’s where your product warranty comes into play.
Enphase offers three separate product warranties for their inverter technologies: one for the microinverters, another for the wall equipment – AKA the IQ Gateway and IQ Combiner – and one for the communications equipment (which provide wireless communication between the inverter and your monitoring platform). The microinverters have a product warranty of 25 years, similar to the level of coverage for the panels that lie on top of them. On the other hand, the wall equipment and communications equipment are only covered for five years.
Inverter replacement: what happens if your product is no longer available?
Let’s say you have a solar inverter that dies after 20 years – inverter technology continues to advance, and by then, Enphase may have a brand new product stock. Will they be able to replace your broken inverter?
If Enphase determines that it is not commercially practicable for them to replace your microinverter, they will issue a refund within two weeks of receipt of your inverter. The refund will be equal to what you paid for the inverter, minus “reasonable depreciation.”
Does Enphase offer extended warranties?
Need more protection for peace of mind? Many solar inverter companies offer extended warranties for their products. Depending on the company and the product, an extended warranty may come at an extra cost, or only be available for certain installers who have been certified and endorsed by the manufacturer.
Enphase does not currently offer an extended product warranty for their microinverters.
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! However, 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.
Enphase does not currently offer a workmanship warranty to their customers.
How to make a warranty claim with Enphase: shipping & labor costs
If you experience any defects or performance issues with your equipment, Enphase will be there to help.
To start, if you notice an issue with your inverter, your first phone call should be to your original installer: having designed and installed your system, they are the most equipped to diagnose (and fix!) any potential issue. If you can’t get in touch with your installer, or they’ve gone out of business, Enphase has an installer directory you can use to find another company in your area.
Depending on the problem at hand, your installer may be able to diagnose the issue in the field and initiate the fix immediately! However, if in-field troubleshooting doesn’t solve the problem, your installer can help you begin the return merchandise authorization (RMA) process.
When it comes time for any repairs or replacements, there are two additional warranty considerations you’ll want to keep in mind: labor and shipping costs.
Labor costs for diagnostics, repairs or replacements
Many manufacturers cover replacement parts at no extra cost, but don’t pay for the labor costs necessary to reinstall that equipment. Fortunately, Enphase helps cover labor costs for replacing and repairing their RMA approved products up to a certain amount. While they don’t cover all fees, they provide a two year RMA labor reimbursement of up to $125 for each truck roll to a site for performing removal and replacement of a defective product, plus $25 for every additional product at the site. Importantly, this reimbursement is paid directly to the installer, and may not cover all the labor costs associated with the warranty claim.
Shipping of parts
Similarly, not all equipment manufacturers will pay the costs to get equipment to you – but Enphase isn’t one of them! As long as Enphase determines that your claim is justified, they will cover the cost of shipping any repaired or replaced equipment. However, it’s important to note that if Enphase determines your claim is not justified after completing their diagnostics, you’ll have to pay a $200 handling fee and the shipping won’t be covered.
Comparing product and power warranty terms: the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide
What are some of the most popular Enphase products on the market today? Using the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide, you can compare the warranties, performance, and aesthetics of top solar inverters. There’s a lot in there, so we recommend using the filter and sorting functionalities to find the right inverter for you.
Limitations and exceptions
Every warranty comes with limitations and exceptions, including Enphase’s. These limitations aren’t meant to make it difficult for you or other customers to take advantage of their offering; at the end of the day, they simply need to protect themselves from unreasonable claims.
Here are a few things that aren’t covered in your Enphase warranty:
- Damage that occurs while shipping the equipment for diagnostics.
- Any damage to equipment that has been misused, neglected, tampered with, altered, or otherwise damaged, either internally or externally.
- Equipment that was improperly installed.
- Damage to equipment that has been subjected to fire, water, generalized corrosion, biological infestations, acts of nature, or high input voltage (such as from generators or lightning strikes).
Other warranty considerations, and how Enphase stacks up
- Transferability: As long as your equipment remains in place, you can transfer your Enphase warranties to new owners of your system for $399.
- Bankability: Enphase is a publicly traded company (ENPH) on NASDAQ. To learn more about their financials, visit their investor page.
- Escrows/insurance policies: Enphase has their own insurance policy to ensure that their warranties will be upheld in the event that they go out of business.
- Eligibility: Some manufacturers require customers to permanently connect to their monitoring system in order for their warranty to be valid. In the case of Enphase, the product must be continuously connected to be eligible for limited warranty service. However, importantly, they’ll make an exception if the lack of connectivity is due to causes outside the owner’s control.
- Customer reviews: Another critical aspect of understanding a manufacturer’s warranty offering is investigating how their customers feel about their equipment and the services that they provide. Any warranty can look promising on paper, but how the installer or manufacturer performs when honoring their warranty is also critically important. If you are interested in reading Enphase’s reviews, you can do so here.
The best way to compare solar inverter options – warranties and all!
The key to finding the right solar panel system for your home is comparing multiple quotes from solar installers. Using the EnergySage 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. If you have a preference for one type of equipment over another–Enphase or otherwise–simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.