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We read REC’s warranty so you don’t have to

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. In this article, we’ll be breaking down the warranty of one of the industry-leading solar panel companies: REC.

This is an unbiased review: EnergySage is not paid to review brands or products, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising in this article. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing. Learn more about our mission and how we make money as a company.

Highlights of REC’s warranty

  1. Includes a labor warranty: 25 years for REC Certified Solar Professional installers for systems <25 kilowatts (kW)

  2. Offers an extended product warranty to 25 years for free if you install your system with an REC Certified Solar Professional installer

  3. REC is a Tier 1 (highest) bankable company according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar options from local installers.

Quick overview: REC’s history and warranty

Founded in Norway in 1996, REC is now one of the most popular solar panel brands in the industry. Today, their panels are used in residential, commercial & industrial, and utility-scale solar projects and, as of the end of 2019, they had produced over 38 million solar panels. In fact, in 2020, REC estimates that they produced about 1600 megawatts (MW) worth of solar panels.

REC backs their panels with an impressive warranty. When you install your panels with an REC Certified Solar Professional installer and register your system via the REC SunSnap app or REC Certified Solar Professional Portal, you will automatically gain the benefits of the REC Protrust Warranty. This warranty includes a 25-year product, power, and labor warranty for systems under 25 kW (the labor warranty drops to 10 years for systems between 25 and 500 kW). Even their Standard Warranty exceeds the industry standard with a 20-year product and 25-year power warranty included.

REC's solar panel warranty at a glance CategoryREC's coverageIndustry Standard Product20 years (25 with REC Certified Solar Professional installer)10 years Power92% Alpha, 86% REC N-Peak and TwinPeak 4, 85.5% TwinPeak (72-cell), 80.7% TwinPeak (60-cell) at year 2580% at year 25 Labor costsYesNo WorkmanshipYesNo Shipping of partsUnknownNo Extended warranty offeringYes to 25 years for product warrantyNo

REC’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.

REC includes a standard 20 year product warranty for all of their solar panels, and bumps that warranty to 25 for those installed by Certified Solar Professional installers.

REC’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.

REC provides a 25-year power warranty for both their panel technology, which guarantees that their products will still produce at least 80.7 to 92.0% of their original output by the end of the warranty term, depending on the product series, as listed below.

REC Alpha:

  1. 98% output at the end of year 1

  2. No more than 0.25% degradation from years 2-25

  3. Power output of 92.0% by year 25

REC N-Peak & REC TwinPeak 4:

  1. 98% output at the end of year 1

  2. No more than 0.5% degradation from years 2-25

  3. Power output of 86.0% by year 25

REC TwinPeak (60-cell):

  1. 97.5% output at the end of year 1

  2. No more than 0.7% degradation from years 2-25

  3. Power output of 80.7% by year 25

REC TwinPeak (72-cell):

  1. 97.5% output at the end of year 1

  2. No more than 0.5% degradation from years 2-25

  3. Power output of 85.5% by year 25

You can review and compare REC’s solar panels in the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide.

Does REC 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.

REC offers an extended warranty that increases their product warranty to 25 years. The extended warranty is free, but is only available if you install their panels with a REC Certified Solar Professional installer (who you can find on EnergySage).

REC 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 – REC happens to be one of these companies.

When you purchase and install your solar system through a REC Certified Solar Professional installer, you can expect a 25-year labor workmanship warranty backed by REC if your system is under 25 kW. For systems that are 25 to 500 kW (likely larger than what you’re installing on your home), they offer a 10-year labor workmanship warranty.

You can learn more about manufacturer endorsements and how they impact installer warranty offerings in this article.

How to make a warranty claim with REC: shipping & labor costs

Ideally, your solar panel system will continue operating smoothly for 25+ years, and you never have to worry about REC’s warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your solar panel system, REC will be there to help.

If you notice an issue with your system, 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 your installer determines that you need to replace a piece of equipment–like a solar panel– they can file a warranty claim directly with REC on your behalf. Importantly, because REC covers labor costs under their warranty, you don’t need to worry about paying this additional cost to get your system fixed. REC doesn’t mention if they also cover shipping costs for any products needed in the event of a repair or replacement.

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 REC directly to make a claim. In order to take full advantage of their warranty, you’ll need to provide proof of your original purchase, include a description of the defect, and list your product’s serial number in your warranty claim (which you file directly on REC’s website).

It’s worth pointing out that REC’s labor coverage 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 REC’s warranty

Every warranty has its exceptions – REC’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 REC warranty:

  1. Defects or damage due to repair, modifications, or removal by someone other than a qualified service technician

  2. Defects or damage caused by improper attachment, installation, or applications

  3. Defects or damage that arise under abnormal operating conditions (i.e., abuse, misuse, accident, negligent acts, power failures, surges, etc.)

  4. Defects or damage due to extreme weather events (i.e., lightning, fire, flood, etc.)

  5. Defects or damaged caused by any other events or accidents outside REC’s reasonable control

  6. Defects or damage caused by extreme weather events (i.e. lightning, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, flooding)

Other warranty considerations, and how REC stacks up

  1. Bankability: REC is a highly bankable company; in fact, they are listed as a tier 1 (most bankable) company by BNEF.

  2. Escrows/insurance policies: REC does not provide information on whether they have insurance policies or an escrow that ensures their warranties will be upheld if they go out of business.

  3. Customer reviews: another critical aspect of understanding a manufacturer’s warranty offering is investigating how their customers feel about their equipment and the services 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 REC’s reviews, you can do so on their EnergySage company profile.

Check out other solar panel warranties

Learn how REC’s warranty stacks up against these companies based on our ranking system.

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 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–REC or otherwise–simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.


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