It is no secret that the construction of solar photovoltaic power plants requires a fairly serious investment and pays back for a relatively long period. Therefore, one of the most important issues, which should pay attention at the design stage — the warranty on equipment manufacturers. Hardware warranty covers defects in materials and equipment during all operational requirements of equipment manufacturers. The warranty period is set individually by each equipment manufacturer: standard warranty period is 10 years for solar modules and inverters for 5 years. Moreover, often it is possible to purchase an extended warranty, for example, 10 years for inverters.
Equipment warranty usually does not cover direct or indirect losses which have occurred for the following reasons: improper use or modification of the equipment; unauthorized repair; insufficient ventilation equipment failures caused by external influences (e. g., overvoltage, lightning, fire, exposure to corrosive reagents or salt water, unskilled operation, vandalism, mold and other action events, including without limitation any technological and physical cases, which were not known or expected during construction). Also, the warranty is lost in the following cases: damage warranty seals; independent repair unauthorized personnel without appropriate permits from the necessary equipment manufacturer; applying mechanical or other physical damage due to intentional or negligent actions, replacement, removal or damage to the original labels except their normal wear. Equipment manufacturers have the right to refuse warranty service if the return of the defective equipment in non-original packaging.
It is very important not only during the warranty period, but also claimed response time discovered defect. For example, some companies commit themselves to replace the defective equipment within 1-2 weeks, while others — stretch this process for 3-4 months. In addition, upon the warranty can cover as well as not to cover transportation and other costs associated with the delivery of the defective equipment to the service center. If such a center is not on the territory of Ukraine, then the owner of the solar power plant may occur additional costs for logistics, customs clearance and payment of VAT. Thus, when choosing equipment manufacturer must take into account not only the specific cost of the equipment, but also the terms of service on the territory of our country.
Unfortunately, the presence of big-name brand or official representative in Ukraine are not always reliable insurance against potential problems. A striking example can serve as a practical case with well-known European manufacturer of inverters. Theoretically, the official partner of the Ukrainian company had to take care of all questions on warranty cases, but in practice, local support has been reduced to the implementation of traffic control functions without any responsibility for the timing of the reaction. The result was a significant and absolutely unacceptable delay terms of replacement of faulty inverter, resulting in downtime and loss of more than 60% of the planned annual production.
As practical recommendations when choosing equipment for solar power plants may be advisable to pay attention to how to practice a particular manufacturer decides on warranty cases in Ukraine, what time it points to the warranty conditions, who are engaged in logistics and, most importantly, what obligations themselves supplier in case of violation of these promises. The ideal option is a short term warranty replacement of defective equipment and compensation for loss of profits in violation of this term. Unfortunately, manufacturers are often such conditions only at a high cost of equipment. But in any case it is necessary to think about how to pay a little more now, to get rid of possible unpleasant problems in the future.