Best Place to Buy Used Solar Panels – Installing solar panels allows you to harness the sun’s renewable energy, reduce electricity bills, and increase your property’s resale value. But new solar panel systems can be expensive, often costing $15,000 to $25,000. Purchasing high-quality used solar panels can provide major cost savings, allowing more homeowners to go solar. This guide examines the pros, cons, and what to look for when buying pre-owned solar panels from various sources.
Key Factors When Purchasing Used Solar Panels – Best Place to Buy Used Solar Panels
While used solar panels offer an affordable way to reap the benefits of solar energy, it’s important to inspect panels carefully before purchase. Key factors to evaluate include:
- Age – Older panels may have reduced efficiency. Verify manufacture date and purchase panels less than 10 years old.
- Condition – Inspect for cracked glass, damaged backing, corroded frames, broken connectors. Avoid panels with obvious physical flaws.
- Power Output – Used panels should have at least 80% of original wattage rating. Test actual output if possible.
- Connector Compatibility – Panels must have appropriate connectors and wiring to integrate with your system.
- Warranty Coverage – Some used panel sellers offer warranties, but coverage is rare. Assume no warranty.
- Certifications – Look for major certifications like IEC, UL, ETL, CEC to ensure safety and standards.
- Price Per Watt – Compare used solar panel price versus new in terms of dollars per watt of rated capacity.
Buying the right high-quality used solar equipment takes research and inspection. Now let’s explore the best places to find discounted used solar panels.
Purchasing from Local Solar Installers – Best Place to Buy Used Solar Panels
An excellent option for reliable used panels is buying from a local solar equipment supplier or installer near you. The benefits of purchasing through local solar companies include:
- Experienced Inspection – They fully test and vet the quality of used inventory. You get fully-functional, defect-free panels.
- System Matching – Local installers source panels compatible with the types of solar setups in your area.
- Professional Installation – Most offer full-service installation and electrical integration after purchase.
- Ongoing Support – An established local company will be there for system maintenance and repairs.
- Possible Warranties – Some installers offer used panel warranties covering certain defects and functionality issues.
- Give Back Support – Proceeds from sales often help fund local solar charities and community initiatives.
Potential downsides to consider:
- Limited Supply – Local used panel inventory is constrained by what installers have removed and replaced.
- Higher Price – Panels may cost more than online or direct-from-household purchases. But overall value is stronger.
- Older Models – Local stocks don’t turnover quickly. Panels may be older than available online.
For a streamlined solution from reputable solar experts, local panel suppliers are a top choice if you can find good value and condition.
Buying Directly from Solar Panel Owners – Best Place to Buy Used Solar Panels
Another option is to buy used solar panels directly from local homeowners or businesses that previously installed panels on their properties. Direct owner purchases offer these possible advantages:
- Lower Prices – Cut out the middleman and wholesale markup that installers/resellers charge.
- See System Firsthand – Visually inspect panels working in real field conditions before purchasing.
- Negotiation Opportunity – Homeowners are often flexible on price if it means avoiding panel removal and disposal costs.
- Support Local Owners – Directly support solar adoption while recycling panels that otherwise may end up in landfills.
- Personal Recommendation – Previous owners can provide firsthand reviews on panel performance and reliability.
Some potential disadvantages include:
- Limited Selection – Choices depend entirely on what nearby owners are removing for upgrades or due to relocation.
- No Professional Inspection – The risks and responsibility of evaluating panel condition falls entirely on you.
- No Installation/Support – Must find separate solar pros for system integration, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
- Roof Access Difficulties – Actually accessing the panels installed on a roof to inspect them may be challenging.
With extra diligence taken during inspection, buying direct from previous owners can yield great savings on high-quality panels. But ensure thorough vetting.
Ordering Used Panels Online – Best Place to Buy Used Solar Panels
From eBay, Amazon to Craigslist to solar marketplaces, used solar panels are readily available through online classified ads and dedicated solar resale sites. Benefits of buying used panels online include:
- Huge Selection – Find panel models from top brands not available locally, often for over 50% off retail.
- Easy Price Comparisons – Quickly gauge fair market value for any brand panel based on online listing prices.
- Broad Geography – Source and ship panels cost-effectively across states. Not limited by local inventory.
- Buyer Protections – Sites like eBay guarantee functionality for a period after purchase or offer refunds.
- Product Reviews – On resale marketplaces, customer feedback helps identify reputable sellers.
- Convenience – Panels ship right to your door for easy transition to installers.
Potential downsides to purchasing used solar panels online:
- Inability to Visually Inspect – Must rely on photos and descriptions rather than physical inspection.
- Risk of Damage in Shipping – Improper packaging and handling can damage panels in transit.
- No Professional Insights – Lack perspective from solar experts on optimal matches for your system.
- Installation/Support Not Included – Must find separate professionals for installation, maintenance, etc.
If willing to vet sellers thoroughly and arrange local pickup/delivery, buying used solar panels online provides convenience and extremely competitive pricing. Just confirm return policies.
Important Tips for Buying Used Solar Panels
To ensure you purchase high-quality used solar panels built to last, keep these tips in mind:
- Vet Sellers Thoroughly – Review seller ratings, credentials, and customer reviews before purchase.
- Ask Detailed Questions – Inquire about panel age, outputs, defects, certifications to gauge quality.
- Compare $/Watt Value – Calculate price per watt and compare to new panel costs to identify real deals.
- Inspect Carefully – Personally inspecting panels before purchase is highly recommended.
- Test Performance – Use a solar analyzer tool to measure output efficiency if inspection opportunity allows.
- Confirm Technical Specs – Ensure electrical specs like amperage, voltage, connectors properly match your system.
- Calculate Required Quantity – Measure your usable roof space and energy needs to determine how many panels you need.
- Arrange Professional Installation – Factor in labor costs for qualified solar pros to handle integration.
Following these tips will help ensure you purchase high-performing used panels that provide lasting value.
Thanks to their modular design and durable construction, quality solar panels can provide decades of renewable energy when properly maintained. Buying used panels from reputable sellers allows homeowners and businesses to affordably tap into solar power.
To recap, excellent places to purchase affordable used solar panels with confidence include:
- Local solar equipment suppliers and installers who fully inspect and stand behind the used inventory they sell. This provides turnkey convenience.
- Directly from previous owners once you have thoroughly vetted the condition and electrical compatibility of their panels. This can yield best pricing.
- Online classifieds and used solar equipment marketplaces after carefully comparing seller reputation and panel specs, performance data, and purchase protections. This allows broad selection.
Always be sure to closely inspect specific used panels prior to purchase and purchase from experienced solar professionals whenever possible. This ensures you maximize savings while avoiding disappointments from buying used solar equipment.
Department of Energy – Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar