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 battery manufacturers, 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 review the warranty from FranklinWH, a company that entered the storage industry in 2019.
- Offers coverage for 12 years, 6,000 cycles, or 43 megawatt-hours (MWh) throughput (whichever one comes first).
- Covers shipping but excludes labor.
- Guarantees 70% end of warranty battery capacity.
Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar-plus-storage options from local installers.
Quick overview: FranklinWH’s history and warranty
FranklinWH was founded in 2019, solely focused on storage with an emphasis on smart home technology. While they are new to the solar storage industry, they have the backing of large venture capital companies, including Sequoia Capital. Their two current products are a battery with a built-in inverter, the aPower, and an energy management device, the aGate.
The aPower battery hit the market the same year the company was founded and comes with a 12-year, 6,000 cycles, or 43 MWh throughput warranty (whichever comes first). FranklinWH guarantees that the battery will maintain at least 70 percent of its capacity to hold a charge during that period.
FranklinWH’s battery warranty at a glance
|CATEGORY||FRANKLINWH’S COVERAGE||INDUSTRY STANDARD|
|Product and performance||12 years, plus a cycles/throughput clause*||10 years, plus a cycles or throughput clause|
|End of warranty capacity||70% at year 12||60% at year 10|
|Labor for repairs/ replacements||No||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes||No|
|Transferability||Yes, no fee||Yes, no fee|
* The warranty period begins on the date of installation, or twelve months from the manufacture date, whichever comes first.
FranklinWH’s product and performance warranty
A battery manufacturer’s product and performance warranty covers the integrity and output of the equipment itself – if your battery system has a defect or experiences unreasonable degradation, that should be covered by your product warranty. If there’s a defect with your battery, you or your installer should be able to tell that something is amiss and fix the problem immediately–often before the battery is ever installed. Regardless, it’s good to consider products with longer warranties for the peace of mind it provides.
FranklinWH includes a 12 year product warranty for all of their batteries. You can review and compare FranklinWH’s batteries in the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide.
You’ll also notice that many battery warranties will include a clause suggesting that your term may be cut short depending on your use of the battery – this is where cycles and throughput come into play.
Every time you drain and charge your battery, it’s called a “cycle”. Like the battery inside your cell phone, your solar battery will gradually lose its ability to hold a full charge the more you use it. Because of this, some manufacturers guarantee a minimum number of cycles as part of their warranty agreement. But read this line carefully: oftentimes, manufacturers will guarantee a fixed product term OR a minimum number of cycles, whichever comes first. This means if you hit the warrantied number of cycles before your battery hits the end of its warranty period, it could end your warranty term. The confusing part here is that manufacturers will sometimes define a “cycle” differently–i.e., how much your battery needs to be drained and charged for it to be considered a “cycle”?
FranklinWH includes a warrantied number of 6,000 cycles for their batteries.
Another clause that some manufacturers will put on their warranty pertains to throughput: the total energy a manufacturer expects the battery to deliver throughout its lifetime. Companies state these warranties in terms of megawatt-hours (MWh). For example, if your battery company provides a throughput warranty of 30 MWh, this means that the warranty is valid until the battery stores and delivers 30 MWh–or 30,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)–of energy. Similar to a cycle life warranty, throughput warranties typically only apply if your battery delivers a set amount of energy before its warranty period is up.
Throughput numbers will vary quite a bit depending on the overall storage capacity of your system. Additionally, if your battery system contains several different battery cells–or modules–within it, your warranty may state a throughput by cell (which you can multiply by number of cells to get total throughput).
FranklinWH includes a throughput warranty of 43 MWh for their 13.6 kWh battery (i.e 3.16 MWh per kWh.
FranklinWH’s end of warranty capacity rating
In addition to providing cycle or throughput warranties, most manufacturers also promise a certain level of performance by the time your warranty is up. This often presents itself as an end of warranty capacity rating.
As you’re comparing the end of warranty capacity ratings across various batteries, higher percentages are better than lower percentage guarantees.
FranklinWH includes an end of capacity rating of 70% for their battery. This means that by the end of your warranty, your battery should still have 9.52 kWh.
FranklinWH’s workmanship warranty
Battery companies should cover a replacement battery if you need it during their warrantied term–but, while the manufacturer may cover your replacement part, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll cover the labor costs to re-install that equipment. In fact, many manufacturers do not reimburse for labor associated with diagnostics, replacements, or repairs of their products.
More often than not, installers are the sole party responsible for providing workmanship–or labor–warranties for your battery installation. However, some manufacturers offer additional protection by tacking on their own workmanship warranty for a limited number of certified installers in their network.
FranklinWH does not currently offer a workmanship warranty for their battery. You can learn more about manufacturer endorsements and how they impact installer warranty offerings in this article.
How to make a warranty claim with FranklinWH: shipping & labor costs
Ideally, your storage system will continue operating smoothly for 10+ years, and you never have to worry about FranklinWH’s warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your equipment, FranklinWH will be there to help.
If you notice an issue with your battery, 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. Warranty claims can be made by phone or email. You will need proof of battery ownership (or transfer of ownership), description of the defects, and the serial number. It’s also important to know that if your inverter needs to be replaced, FranklinWH prefers to replace the whole unit to avoid repair risk and avoid troubleshooting time.
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 cost 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. FranklinWH is one of those companies – their aPower warranty does not cover labor associated with uninstalling or reinstalling repaired or replaced equipment.
Shipping of parts
Similarly, not all equipment manufacturers will pay the costs to get equipment to you – but fortunately, FranklinWH isn’t one of them! They’ll cover the shipping of any covered replaced or repaired products.
Limitations and exceptions to FranklinWH’s warranty
Every warranty has its exceptions – FranklinWH 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 FranklinWH warranty:
- Acts of nature – this is a common one – most battery system manufacturers will not cover any damage caused by extreme weather events outside of their control, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc. Fortunately, the hardware is pretty durable, and can withstand most storms without the added protection. Even better, should damage happen to occur during a storm, many homeowner insurance policies cover damage to solar-plus-storage systems.
- Installation in conditions that are in violation of the FranklinWH aPower installation manual.
- Normal wear and tear and any superficial defects that do not impact the aPower’s performance.
Other warranty considerations, and how FranklinWH stacks up
- Transferability: The FranklinWH battery warranty is transferable to new owners, as long as the battery is not removed from the original install location.
- Bankability: FranklinWH is a startup founded in 2019 that has the backing of several large venture capital companies.
- Eligibility: Some manufacturers require customers to permanently connect to their monitoring system in order for their warranty to be valid. FranklinWH’s warranty is only applicable to systems that are registered at the time of installation and do not disconnect from the internet for more than a month-long period. If these conditions are not met, FranklinWH offers a limited four-year warranty from the date of installation.
- 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 FranklinWH’s reviews, you can do so here.
What about inverters?
We use “battery” and “battery system” pretty interchangeably in this article, but there’s one important difference between the two: an inverter. Energy storage systems typically include both batteries and inverters, while certain batteries can be sold independently. Inverters are key to the functionality of a battery, so it’s important to make sure yours is covered! If your product includes a built-in storage-only or hybrid inverter, it’ll likely be covered in your battery’s warranty terms. On the other hand, if you pair your battery with an external, third-party inverter, expect it to come with a different warranty agreement than your battery.
FranklinWH batteries are all built-in–thus, their warranty covers the inverters.
Finding the right battery for you
Finding the right storage system for your home means 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-plus-storage 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 – FranklinWH or otherwise – simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.