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 of a newer battery manufacturer in the solar industry: Villara Energy Systems. Villara launched the Industry’s first lithium titanate (LTO) battery, the VillaGrid.
Highlights of Villara’s warranty
- Offers a 20-year, or 10,000 cycles/throughput, warranty and Villara guarantees that the battery will maintain at least 70 percent of its capacity to hold a charge during that time period.
- Includes a workmanship warranty.
- Is an all-encompassing warranty (i.e. includes every component of your system).
Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar-plus-storage options from local installers.
Quick overview: Villara’s history and warranty
Villara Energy Systems is located near Sacramento, California, and is part of the Villara family of companies (established in 1947), which has been installing home energy equipment (including solar, batteries, and generators) for about 20 years. Based in Sacramento CA, Villara launched the industry’s first LTO home battery in 2021, the VillaGrid. Most batteries are covered under warranty for 10 years, but the VillaGrid boasts the longest warranty period currently available on the market: 20 years! The VillaGrid is available in two sizes, 5.75 and 11.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh), to suit your backup needs.
Villara’s battery warranty at a glance
|CATEGORY||VILLARA’S COVERAGE||INDUSTRY STANDARD|
|Product and performance||20 years or 10,000 cycles (whichever comes first)||10 years, plus a cycles or throughput clause|
|End of warranty capacity||70% at year 20||60% at year 10|
|Labor for repairs/ replacements||No||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes||No|
|Transferability||Yes, with a fee||Yes, no fee|
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.
Villara includes a 20-year product warranty for all of their VillaGrid batteries. You can review and compare Villara 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”?
Villara defines a “cycle” as complete charge and discharge of the battery and includes a warrantied number of 10,000 cycles for all of 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 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).
Villara doesn’t include a throughput warranty for their batteries.
Villara’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.
Villara includes an end of capacity rating of 70% for all of their batteries. You can check the end of warranty capacity ratings for each battery model in the table below.
VillaGrid end of warranty capacity
|Initial usable capacity (kWh)||5.75 kWh||11.5 kWh|
|End of warranty capacity (kWh)||4.03 kWh||8.05 kWh|
Villara’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. Villara does not offer a workmanship warranty, but their modular architecture makes the battery very serviceable in the field, enabling onsite professionals to make most fixes without having to ship the entire unit back to the facility.
You can learn more about manufacturer endorsements and how they impact installer warranty offerings in this article.
How to make a warranty claim with Villara: shipping & labor costs
Ideally, your storage system will continue operating smoothly for 20+ years, and you never have to worry about Villara warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your equipment, Villara 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. However, if your installer has gone out of business or you’re unable to contact them, VillaGrid has a form available on their website where you can file any complaints or claims directly.
During the 20-year warranty period, you can contact VillaGrid for the replacement and shipment of new parts. The battery can easily be serviced in the field by any installer or professional as the front cover can be easily removed – some changes can even be done remotely over the Internet without any visits to your home!
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 re-install that equipment. Villara is one of those companies, meaning you’ll have to pay for any labor needed during your warranty period.
Shipping of parts
Similarly, not all equipment manufacturers will pay the costs to get equipment to you – but fortunately Villara isn’t one of them! Shipping costs for repaired or replaced equipment are included in the VillaGrid warranty.
Limitations and exceptions to Villara’s warranty
Every warranty has its exceptions – Villara’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 warranty:
- Villara batteries are certified for indoor use, but with restrictions. The ambient temperature cannot fall below -22°F or exceed 131°F. The temperature is calculated using sensors inside the battery.
- 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 Villara’s VillaGrid installation manual.
- Technical or cosmetic defects that do not interfere with the performance of the battery or actively degrade the system.
Other warranty considerations, and how Villara stacks up
- Transferability: the Villara battery warranty is transferable to new owners, as long as the battery remains at the same location. There is a small fee to transfer ownership.
- Bankability: Villara has been around for about 75 years and its annual revenue exceeds $200 million.
- Escrows/insurance policies: Toshiba has endorsed Villara’s 20-year warranty and third party warranties are available at additional cost.
- Eligibility: some manufacturers require customers to permanently connect to their monitoring system in order for their warranty to be valid. The VillaGrid connects to a monitoring system via WiFi and the warranty remains valid even after temporary losses of connectivity.
- Customer reviews: an important part 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 Villara’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.
The VillaGrid can only be paired with Sol-Ark inverters – though Villara plans to add other inverter options in the future. The Sol-Ark 8K inverter comes with a standard 5-year warranty, which can be extended to 10 years for an additional fee.The Sol-Ark 12K stackable inverter comes with a standard 10-year warranty. The Sol-Ark inverters have an expected useful life of 20+ years, but can easily be replaced by a qualified contractor if need be.
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–Villara or otherwise–simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.