REC Offers Another Warranty Boost For Its Solar Panels

REC solar panels

Solar panel manufacturer REC last week announced improved warranty coverage for its products, but perhaps a little prematurely.

Solar panels are accompanied by two different manufacturer warranties.

  • Product warranty: covering defects in design, materials and manufacture – anywhere from 10 – 30 years.
  • Performance warranty: covering a minimum level performance over a period of (usually) 25 years.

But when it comes to the labor involved with removing a defective panel and installing a replacement, that is often not covered explicitly (or not at all) in warranty documents.

SQ’s Ronald has previously noted his opinion that claims for losses such as the cost of labour to replace a defective panel may be covered under Australian Consumer Law. However, if the panel manufacturer doesn’t want to play ball it could mean a fight.

REC ProTrust Warranty Details

The issue regarding labour coverage hopefully shouldn’t be such a grey issue with REC going forward.

Late last week REC Group unveiled its ProTrust Warranty for panels installed by REC Certified Solar Professionals. This includes the existing 25-year product1 and performance warranty; accompanied by a new up to 25-year labor warranty on panels delivered to its customers from January 1, 2020.

At the time of publishing this article, warranty documents on the REC Group web site hadn’t been updated and were still stating (in bold):

“Please note that this Limited Warranty does not cover, nor will the Warrantor reimburse, any on-site labor or other costs incurred in connection with the de-installation or removal of defective Products, transport or the re-installation of replaced or repaired Products or any components.”

However, further down the documents also state (not in bold):

“For Products and Original End-Users located in Australia only, the Product comes with guarantees that cannot be excluded under Australian Consumer Law for Original End-Users who are ‘consumers’ within the meaning of the Australian consumer Law.”

… but doesn’t explain what those guarantees are; leaving it up to the consumer to be aware of and interpret related Australian Consumer Law.

Anyway, according to REC’s release regarding the new ProTrust Warranty:

“In the event that the panel needs to be serviced by a REC Certified Solar Professional installer, REC will pay a fix labor fee to cover the cost of repair or replacement of the panels or will refund the defective panels for 25 years for installations up to 25 kW and for 10 years for installations between 25-500 kW, subject to further conditions.”

I mentioned to REC on Thursday the warranty documents on its site weren’t yet reflecting new labour coverage details and the company told me they should be updated soon.  So before getting too excited about the changes, check the details once the updated warranties are available. Also note REC appears to give itself the option of just refunding the panels; but again, Australian Consumer Law may come into play in terms of costs involved with de-installation and re-installation of panels.

There is an overview of ProTrust here, but it’s a little light on information.

Simplifying Warranty Registration

REC also says it has simplified how installers register systems for warranty. Previously, the installer was required to register the serial numbers of every panel in the installation. For smaller projects up to 25 kW, this is no longer necessary – all that needs to be specified is the system location, number and type of panel, date of install and system owner.

REC is very confident in the quality of its solar panels. The company claims that of more than 4 million it manufactures each year, fewer than 400 are returned from the field under warranty – that’s just 0.01 percent.

REC solar products have been available in Australia since 2010. The company is currently listed on our trusted solar brands chart and REC solar panel reviews here on SQ submitted by Australians have generally been very favourable.

The company was founded in Norway in 1996 and has headquarters there, but its manufacturing is located in Singapore and REC Group is owned by a Chinese corporation. So, the answer to the question of whether REC is European or Asian is “yes”.

Footnotes

  1. REC’s product warranty is 20 years where the panels aren’t installed by a REC Certified Solar Professional
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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