Second-Hand Solar Panels: Waste of Money or the Best Idea Ever?
Thinking about going solar but worried about the high cost of getting started? It’s true that solar power systems have dropped considerably in cost over the last couple of decades after many advancements in manufacturing has led to cheaper installation costs and greater efficiency. It’s also true that government incentives, lease options, and net metering programs have helped lower the bar to entry for most folks.
The costs have never been lower, but it’s completely understandable that even with the lowest costs that have ever been seen some would look for additional ways to lower the costs. So, are second-hand solar panels a legitimate way to save on the costs of putting in a solar power generating systems? Or, are they a proverbial time bomb, the cost of which (added to the cost of installation) will never be recovered as they quit producing power soon after installation?
Unfortunately, the answers to these questions aren’t terribly simple. Used solar panels can represent a serious cost savings if they work for a significant period of time.
Evaluating Used Solar Panels
The overwhelming majority of solar power generating systems that have been in service for twenty years are generally producing power at about eighty percent of their original efficiency. This number can vary dramatically, and used solar panels should always be tested by a reputable installer or manufacturer prior to purchase.
Determining the efficiency of the used system will help you determine if it will cover your needs without the addition of more panels, and approximately how much life the used system still has in it.
Transfers of Solar Systems
Many leased systems can be transferred, along with the lease and warranty, to a new owner. Typically this is done when someone purchases the house that the system is installed on, but in some cases, lease transfers can be made to accommodate the removal and re-installation of the system on another property.
Additionally, you would be best advised to look for used solar panels and power systems that are still covered by warranty.
Used Versus New Solar Panels
If you only need around eighty percent of what the panels can deliver, and once they are tested it seems like they still have more than enough life to cover the expense of their purchase, then the used solar panels might be worth purchasing.
Like with most other major purchases, there are no guarantees when buying a used solar power system, which is why it pays to have the used system assessed by a reputable professional. That way, you can make a legitimate comparison between the used and new systems, to gauge which makes for the better purchase.