[RE-wrenches] Sunpower Performance Warranty Claim

George McClellan George.McClellan at recgroup.com
Tue Nov 22 15:48:13 PST 2022

I’m not sure that a PhD dissertation is required for a successful performance warranty claim.  For most claims, the manufacturer needs to verify just a few things;  1. Is it one of their modules? (verified with a serial number) 2. Is the module broken?  (verified by an image of the module)  3. Is the module shaded? (verified by an image of the array, indicating where the claimed module is),  4.  Is the module not performing to spec?  (verified with a Voc and Isc check, or module level info from the MLPE).

A lot can be learned from the MLPE on a solar module.  Many manufacturers will accept individual module voltage and current readings form the monitoring platform for warranty claims (free).  Couple that with and image of the module to determine if it is broken, and a view of the array to understand if the module is not shaded and that can potentially be an inexpensive warranty claim.  Where things go sideways is when a customer wants a module replaced because they see it is performing at less than the rest of the modules in the array, and does not want to investigate any further.  Do just a minor amount of logical remote troubleshooting (individual modules voltage and current, compared to the spec sheet and neighboring modules) and you can often get a claim accepted without a site visit, or at a minimum a drive by to check the status of the modules.

Module manufacturers are very interested in warranty claims as they use the failure analyses to feed back into their product improvement program.  So I’m not sure it is wise to lump all manufacturers in with one bad actor.

But – as always – the best warranty out there is one that you don’t have to use.


George McClellan | Senior Technical Sales Manager | REC Americas LLC
330 James Way Ste 150 | Pismo Beach, CA 93449 | USA
Cell phone +1 805 704 3226 | Fax +1 805 357 6104
www.recgroup.com<http://www.recgroup.com/> | george.mcclellan at recgroup.com<mailto:shannon.kent at recgroup.com>
[cid:image001.jpg at 01D8FE87.1B8F5D10]

From: RE-wrenches <re-wrenches-bounces at lists.re-wrenches.org> On Behalf Of Jason Szumlanski via RE-wrenches
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2022 2:17 PM
To: RE-wrenches <re-wrenches at lists.re-wrenches.org>
Cc: Jason Szumlanski <jason at floridasolardesigngroup.com>
Subject: Re: [RE-wrenches] Sunpower Performance Warranty Claim

This is why I have an article on my website to explain to prospective clients why module warranties are mostly useless.

The cost to evaluate most potential problems is prohibitive.  Now if you have a major manufacturer failure and every module is obviously bad, that could be grounds for a warranty claim, but for a single module or two, or a minor deficiency in production - it just will never be worth it. And later in the life of a system, even a major issue might not be worth investigating. I can count the successful module warranty claims I have done in my career on a single hand.

Modules warranties are mostly marketing nonsense, unfortunately, IMO.

Jason Szumlanski
Principal Solar Designer | Florida Solar Design Group
NABCEP Certified Solar Professional (PVIP)
Florida State Certified Solar Contractor CVC56956

On Tue, Nov 22, 2022 at 1:50 PM Scot Arey via RE-wrenches <re-wrenches at lists.re-wrenches.org<mailto:re-wrenches at lists.re-wrenches.org>> wrote:
I agree that the time to process warranty the module to a manufacturer’s desires is cost-prohibitive. Of all the component’s we use, this warranty almost seems the least valuable for this very reason. We stopped one case for this very reason as I didn’t want to do a PhD dissertation for a single module.

Was surprised by one manufacturer who advised us to read that bypass diodes were not an warranty defect even though the module was making half power.

Good luck, look forward to hearing how your case goes.

Scot Arey
Solar CenTex

From: RE-wrenches <re-wrenches-bounces at lists.re-wrenches.org<mailto:re-wrenches-bounces at lists.re-wrenches.org>> On Behalf Of Daniel Young via RE-wrenches
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2022 12:34 PM
To: RE-wrenches <re-wrenches at lists.re-wrenches.org<mailto:re-wrenches at lists.re-wrenches.org>>
Cc: Daniel Young <danny at sesre.com<mailto:danny at sesre.com>>
Subject: [RE-wrenches] Sunpower Performance Warranty Claim

Hello Wrenches,

Any experience successfully submitting a performance warranty claim with SunPower on their solar modules? Right now, in order to Provide what they are asking for, we will likely spend more time/money testing to their satisfaction than it would cost for us to likely buy new modules and just replace the array.

Anybody have a similar experience? Or suggestions on how to deal with Sunpower?

Don’t want to bog this down with all the details but suffice to say we I-V traced the array at the string level as a sanity check (7-10 % lower than anticipated performance), and a random selection of individual modules as well and we are seeing roughly 8% lower performance than expected given the array age and listed performance warranty. (STC corrected I-V trace is 8% lower than it should be for an 8 year old solar module from SunPower)

With Regards,


Danny Young
NABCEP PV Installation Professional #031508-90
Engineering Team Lead
Solar Energy Solutions
Lexington | Louisville | Bloomington | Cincinnati | Evansville | Indianapolis
513-448-5176 (mobile)
877-312-7456 (Main Office)
danny at sesre.com<mailto:danny at sesre.com>



This message is private and confidential and may be privileged. Any unauthorized use, dissemination of the information or copying of this message is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately and remove it from your system. Thank you.


This message is private and confidential and may be privileged. Any unauthorized use, dissemination of the information or copying of this message is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately and remove it from your system. Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.re-wrenches.org/pipermail/re-wrenches-re-wrenches.org/attachments/20221122/ac006e81/attachment.htm>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 90690 bytes
Desc: image001.jpg
URL: <http://lists.re-wrenches.org/pipermail/re-wrenches-re-wrenches.org/attachments/20221122/ac006e81/attachment.jpg>

More information about the RE-wrenches mailing list