Buying Used Solar Panels: Everything You Need To Know

When buying used solar panels, you need to know the following as a minimum:

1️⃣ When purchasing used panels, consider the type, system size, age, cost, and condition of the solar panels.

2️⃣ Only new solar panel installations can use the Feed-in-Tariff incentive.

3️⃣When you buy solar panels, look for damage like cracks and burn marks.

When you’ve decided to go solar for your home or business, you must consider how old they are. Solar panels have a lifespan of twenty-five to thirty years and more.

Factors beyond your control, like extreme weather conditions, will affect the lifespan of those solar panels.

Secondhand panels will pay for themselves between five and ten years. In contrast, new systems will pay for themselves between nine and twelve years. Therefore, it is essential to know the system’s age and whether they maintained it.

πŸŽ“ What You Need To Know When Buying Used Solar Panels

When considering purchasing solar panels, you need to determine how many sun hours you get regularly. There are online calculators available to assist you in this matter. Also, the solar company that helps you with your installation will be able to give you the information you need.

Solar panels don’t work at night and do not work well when it is cloudy.

Because solar panels depend on sunlight, you need to consider which way your house faces. For example, do you have a south-facing roof in the northern hemisphere or a north-facing roof in the south-facing hemisphere?

The average house consumes less energy than the majority of solar systems generate. As a result, your solar battery system saves the extra energy generated by your solar system during the day.

Your house is powered by the solar battery solution when your solar system is not working at night. You could even run entirely independently of the grid, depending on the technical specifications of your system.

If you have a grid-tied system, your solar panels will send any extra electricity back to the utility company through the electrical grid.

The power company will give you credit for any power your system doesn’t use. So, for example, you can use the free credits you receive from your utility company to purchase free electricity. Unfortunately, this only applies to new certified installations.

πŸ”Ž What To Look For When Buying Used Solar Panels

When buying used solar power systems, you must ensure they are in good working order. In addition, check for physical damage like cracks and broken connectors and look for the following:

1️⃣ Make sure that the used solar panels are in working condition:
Test the used solar panels with a multimeter to determine if they produce the specified amps and volts.

Point the solar panels toward the sun and test them for a few minutes while the panels warm up. They should work if you get the required amps and volts.

2️⃣ Check used solar panels for loose connections:
The cells in Solar panels together make up the circuitry that produces the power output. If there are loose connections between them, they will not work optimally.

3️⃣ Used solar panels produce less power than new ones:
With each year that goes by, your panels produce less energy. New solar panels will be more efficient because technology is improving, and you need to consider the age of your solar panel.

Older solar panels are physically bigger and use more space on your roof, whereas newer ones are smaller. Does your roof have enough room for the solar panels to produce the output you need?

4️⃣ Check your used solar panels for damage:
Typically, used solar panels get exposed to weather conditions, like rain, dust, small rocks, hail, and debris.

So, check for visible damage, like small cracks, moisture, and broken connections, and they may not be easy to spot.

5️⃣ Installing used solar panels:
Do you have a working knowledge of solar panel systems? Do you have the electrical and technical expertise to install solar panels yourself?

If you need more expertise, getting a company to do the installation for you might be better. Finding a company willing to use the secondhand equipment you bought might be challenging.

⚠️ If you want to be the one who takes care of the solar installation, you should research, get quotes, and ensure you will only end up with solar equipment that can be used or installed.

πŸ’° What Are Used Solar Panels Worth?

Used Solar panels differ in price depending on their age, specification, and condition.

Refurbished solar panels are worth approximately fifty to seventy-five percent of the price of new ones, depending on their condition, specification, and age. In contrast, used solar panels cost about ten to sixty cents per watt.

The value of used solar panels depends on factors like:

  • Solar panels might be worth purchasing if you have your “own” property, as this might increase the value of your house.
  • If your electric bill is high, it might be worth purchasing solar panels, as this will save you money in the long run.
  • It might be worth purchasing solar panels if you get a reasonable price.
  • The age of used solar panels plays a significant role in their value.

πŸ›οΈ Who Buys Used Solar Panels?

Companies might be interested in buying your used solar panels to recycle them. After refurbishing them to an acceptable functional level, they sell them at a markup with a limited warranty.

For example, these are some of the companies that might be interested In purchasing your used solar panels:

Cascade Eco Minerals LLC‘We recycle solar panels, which is a specialized process. We do not outsource the work, we do it ourselves’.
Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations‘We help you dispose of outdated IT equipment, recycle solar panels and electronics, and repair and resell them’.
Echo Environmental‘We provide sustainable solutions across the technology lifecycle. Electronic, plastic, and solar module recycling are among what we offer’.
Green Lights Recycling Inc.‘We recycle many products as an industry leader and offer our services to households, businesses, governments, and more’.
Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.‘Our energy-efficient products and technology improved factory automation equipment, elevators, UPSs, solar panels, space and sensing systems, semiconductors, and electric utility systems’.
Recycle1234‘We keep electronics out of landfills and inspire others to improve their lives. We’re one of the few companies that recycle solar panels’.
We Recycle Solar‘We are recycling experts in the solar industry for end-of-life solar products such as panels, energy storage, and more’.

Not only do companies buy these used solar panels, but there are a lot of people that buy them to install them in their homes. People buy these panels because they are much cheaper than their new counterparts.

When the used solar panels are still in excellent condition, they either install the system their selves if they have the expertise and know how to do so. And if they need more expertise, they usually reach out to a company specializing in solar panel installations.

βš–οΈ Advantages And Disadvantages Of Buying Used Solar Panels

Used solar panels are much cheaper than new ones, but if they are in good condition, they will still last for many years. So, a do-it-yourself might be appealing if you have experience with solar systems.

You should get a company specializing in solar panels if you need to become more familiar with solar panels, as you might injure yourself.

Advantages of used solar panelsDisadvantages of used solar panels
Used solar panels are cheaper than new ones.Used solar panels have shorter life spans than new ones.
With net metering, you can sell any extra energy you make back to the utility company.Used solar panels don’t have a warranty.
With used solar panels, you can install them as a do-it-yourself project.Used solar panels generate less power than a refurbished or new system.
Solar panels turn sunlight into clean energy, which reduces your carbon footprint.The cost of installation and maintenance is still high.
Used solar panels, if installed correctly, might increase your house’s value.Replacing parts and maintaining used solar systems must occur every few years.
You could qualify for tax benefits.Solar only works when the sun is shining.

πŸ’‘ Know Where To Buy Solar Panels

Solar panels are expensive, so you want to shop for the best possible deal that suits your particular needs. First, search for solar panel companies that deal with refurbished solar panels.

Then, shop around for quotes from multiple solar panel installers until you find one that meets your needs.

Some businesses, including Tesla, Palmetto, Sunrun, ADT Solar, SunPower, Decom Solar, Trinity Solar, and many more, have extensive service regions and compete in a fiercely cutthroat market.

Where To Buy Used Solar Panels

Using an approved solar company in your area that has arrangements with the top manufacturers.

You can use online stores like Sunhub, eBay, and Amazon to purchase your used solar panels for your do-it-yourself needs.

Then again, your friend or family might want to upgrade their solar panel system. You might even see used systems sold in your local newspaper.

You can even do an online search for used solar panels in the area near you.

Buying New Solar Panels

You can purchase new solar panels straight from the Manufacturer’s websites.

Perform a quick online search for solar panel companies in the area near you.

Hanwha Q cells, Jinko Solar, Silfab Solar, Mission Solar Energy, and Solaria are the top five US producers of solar panels. These businesses manufacture high-performance solar panels for installations in homes and businesses.

Buying Complete Solar Kits

You can purchase do-it-yourself kits from Sunhub, Home Depot, eBay, and Amazon stores.

If you know what you are looking for, have experience installing solar panels and electricity, and have the technical capabilities to do so, you should be fine.

πŸͺ› How To Install Used Solar Panel

Installing used solar panels and new ones is similar.

Used solar panels get exposed to various weather conditions, so be more careful and handle them carefully. Once you ensure they are in good working condition, the installation remains the same.

You must follow a few procedures to install a used solar panel system.

After you ensure that your used system is in good working condition, plan your installation with safety in mind.

Plan the route your electrical wiring needs to follow. First, find the wiring diagram for your particular solar system online and follow it to the letter. Then, install your inverter and make sure that everything is properly grounded.

Mount your used solar panels to the roof and ensure they are properly grounded.

Install your inverter system, keep safety in mind, and follow the wiring diagram.

You can save money on labor costs and have more control over the final design of your home solar system if you install your solar panels. Be careful, though. Do-it-yourself solar projects can have serious drawbacks.

It takes extensive electrical knowledge and technical skill to install solar panels because of their complexity and technical nature. If you do not have the technical expertise or experience working with electricity, installing solar panels might endanger your safety, the integrity of your roof, and your electrical system.

If the system you bought secondhand is faulty, this will make the installation even more complex. While do-it-yourself projects are fantastic, if you lack the expertise to install the solar panel system, it may be best to hire someone to do it for you.

❓ FAQs

How Much Are Old Solar Panels Worth?

The price of used solar panels is worth between fifty and seventy-five percent of new ones, depending on their condition and age.

Is It Reasonable To Buy Used Solar Panels?

It is good to buy used solar panels because you get them at a much lower price. But, unfortunately, their lifespan is shorter than new ones.

Do Solar Panels Have Resale Value?

Solar panels have good resale value if they are around ten years old and are in good condition.

What Is A Reasonable Price For Used Solar Panels?

A reasonable price for used panels would be around sixty percent of the cost of a new solar panel.

πŸ”‘ Key Takeaways

When shopping for secondhand solar panels, consider the system’s size, condition, and age. Also, ensure that the previous owner did maintain the used solar panel system. 

The lifespan of used ones is shorter than that of new panels. With new solar panels, you get a warranty and a limited warranty with refurbished ones, not with used systems.

If you do go the used route, then ensure you check these boxes:

1️⃣ Make sure that the used solar panels are in working condition: Test them with a multimeter to determine if they produce the specified amps and volts.

2️⃣ Check used solar panels for loose connections: They will not work optimally if there are loose connections between them.

3️⃣ Used solar panels produce less power than new ones: Older panels are physically bigger and use more space on your roof. Does your roof have enough room for the output you need?

4️⃣ Check your used solar panels for damage: Typically, used solar panels get exposed to weather conditions, like rain, dust, small rocks, hail, and debris.

I’m the website operator and editor here at ALTA Devices. The solar revolution is the most exciting thing to happen in a generation! I’ve written extensively on solar, electric vehicles, and the electrification of the marine industry. You can find out more on LinkedIn below: