Buying used solar panels can help you save money when initially investing in a solar setup, but are they worth it? It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons! You can find already owned solar panels from direct sellers, online marketplace platforms, and companies specializing in solar system setups. Most panels end up in the recycling bin, but some are still usable after their first owner discards them. In this article, I compare the cost of new, used, and refurbished solar panels. You’ll also read how solar companies feel about installing pre owned ones and whether they’re worth buying.
Buying and Using Used Solar Panels
Solar panels are a costly investment. Going off the grid can set you back thousands, and not everyone can afford it. If you don’t have the capital to spend on panels, there’s another option. Solar power is taking the world by storm, and the market is full of used and refurbished solar panels.
Pre-owned panels are typically in good condition, and the sellers could try to get rid of them for several reasons. Some include not having roof space anymore or upgrading to a more extensive solar setup. Another is moving to a new house that already has solar panels installed.
You can buy these pre-owned solar panels for much less than new, straight off-the-shelf panels. The chances of paying more than half of the new price are slim. By purchasing used panels, you’re also doing the environment a favor. You stop them from landing on a dumpsite and polluting the earth.
The refurbished option is the other type of panel that isn’t brand new. Experts buy these panels from people who want to sell them after a few uses. They fix all minor problems to ensure they look great again. These problems can include small cracks and loose wiring. After restorations, these panels are sold for a profit.
Cost Comparison: New vs. Used Solar Panels
There is a significant difference in the prices of new, used, and refurbished panels.
Average Price of New Panels
New solar panels are costly. The prices range between $0.80 and $3 per watt. The cost of a brand new 250-watt solar panel could cost you up to $750.
Average Price of Refurbished Solar Panels
Refurbished panels fall in a grey area between new and used solar panels. You can expect to pay half the price of a new solar panel. Sometimes, the cost can even be as low as 70% less than brand new. You could pay as little as $225 for the most expensive type of 250-watt solar panel if it’s been refurbished.
Average Price of Used Panels
Used panels have been working for a while. There’s usually no work done to upgrade their condition since sellers offer them to you just the way they are. The price of these depends on the years they’ve been in use. Some panels also have more damage and wear and tear than others. The average cost of used panels in the US starts from as little as $0.10 per watt. The average maximum price only goes up to $0.60 per watt. 250-watt solar panels in excellent condition will cost you about $150. Some cheaper options are available, but their condition usually isn’t as good.
Solar Company Policies: Will They Install Used Solar Panels?
A quick Google search will provide hundreds of solar installation companies in your area. However, not all are willing to install solar panels if they’re bought second-hand.
Most companies will especially object if they have an installation warranty in place. Used panels could have underlying problems you can’t see with the naked eye. If these panels break within the warrantied timeframe, you could wrongfully blame the installation company. It could cost the company a pretty penny, and the installer may have to replace your solar panels from their pocket.
Solar companies typically don’t install used panels. You’re more likely to find an installer if you can buy used panels from them too. They may be able to provide you with their own installer if they’re confident that the panels they sell are in good condition.
Note: You’ll have an easier time finding someone to install your refurbished solar panels. They are usually maintained well and trustworthy.
Are Pre-owned Solar Panels Worth It?
Pre-owned panels could be one hundred percent worth it if you find the right deal. Someone will always try to rip you off with a broken solar panel, so be careful. Always check the price of a few solar panels at companies that sell new ones. Some people sell used panels for only a few dollars less than you could pay for them if they were new.
Luckily not everyone is trying to make money off you. Some people want to get rid of their panels for personal reasons. You could strike a bargain and buy some costly panels for a reasonable price. Even if you only get a few of them, it could still lower the initial cost of making a move to solar power.
If you happen to see a deal that impresses you, always ensure that you have a verbal or written agreement with the seller. They should be able to give you a guarantee that the panels are in good condition and not likely to break in a month.
Wrapping It Up
Buying panels is worth it if you come across a good deal. I suggest contacting local solar companies to find out if they have any available before purchasing directly from a seller. The warranty you get with used panels will influence their worth. You should always compare all the factors of new and used panels before deciding. A safer option is refurbished solar panels. I hope this article was helpful and you enjoyed reading it but if jumping into solar this quickly is too much for you check out our Solar Power for Dummies article, a full guide for people looking to get into solar and sustainable energy. If there are still unanswered questions you have, ask them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you!