Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This Article examines the use of warranties and product standards in solar marketing as ways to bring about the needed confidence in and acceptance of solar equipment. The first part of the Article analyzes relevant warranty law from the perspectives of solar sellers and buyers. Some government and private groups have argued that warranties can provide the needed impetus for solar development, and there is thus a great tendency today to view warranties as the means to encourage solar usage. The premise advanced in this part of the Article, however, is that warranty law, operating independently, is unlikely to instill adequate buyer confidence or provide sufficient buyer protection to develop solar markets. The second part examines the major types of product standards promulgated in the United States in the context of solar energy and demonstrates their importance as a means of overcoming reluctance on the part of consumers, builders, code officials,and government benefit officials. The final part of the Article assesses how warranties and product standards can be used most successfully in the solar commercialization effort. The Article argues that given the shortcomings of warranties, greater emphasis must be placed on the development of product standards if solar energy is to become a viable commercial enterprise in this country. The implementation of sound product standards is one of the most important and necessary acts to stimulate widespread solar use.The role of solar warranties is more modest; their primary contributions will be in a support capacity for product standards.