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Warranty insurance for concentrator solar panels

What differentiates one solar technology from another? Would you be more like to buy or invest in one system versus another if you knew the technology's performance was somehow guaranteed.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

What differentiates one solar technology from another? Would you be more like to buy or invest in one system versus another if you knew the technology's performance was somehow guaranteed. SolFocus, which manufactures concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems, is talking up the performance and reliability of its technology. And now it is backing up that talk with a new performance warranty, one that will apply in the U.S. market.

The policy, which SolFocus is touting as a first of its kind development for CPV technology (there are similar warranties for some other solar systems although I'm not sure if they are available in the United States), is being offered by Munich Re and insurance broker Woodruff-Sawyer. It applies globally, and covers the performance of all SolFocus systems for up to 25 years. Here's SolFocus CEO Mark Crowley puts it:

"As the first CPV company that can provide an insured performance-warranty to its customers, we are proud to pave the way for this advanced solar technology to reach commercial status and become a trusted bankable technology for developers, financial institutions and utilities. The ability to provide an insurance policy is critical for companies such as ours in providing confidence and trust to the marketplace."

I don't doubt that statement, and I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that there are other manufacturers who are doing the same for other sorts of solar photovoltaic cells. One thing, though, they need to be sure the technology can stand up to Munich Re's test—it conducts a review of how these technologies are developed and produced before backing a particular system.

A spokesman for Munich Re hints that you can expect to see similar warranties emerging for other sorts of clean energy technologies, including wind or solar thermal, in the near future.

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