Used Solar Panels, Buyer Beware
There seems to be a lot of used solar panels on the market right now. Prices range from 35 Cents per watt to as much as 70 Cents.
I am certain there are modules that are perfectly fine and legitimate. However, there are reasons why a lot of these solar panels are sold off such as upgrades in solar farms, de-lamination warranty issues, or even stolen stuff. Some folks are actually trying to resurface shattered modules using a poly-urethane coating. Let’s go through a few reasons on why PV-modules are being re-sold.
- Some folks go real estate shopping, like the house but cannot stand the esthetics of panels on the roof. They terminate their contract with the IESO and have the system dismantled by professionals. The small drawback is that the remaining warranty is now void.
- Some larger projects are being upgraded to higher power class modules. The installers often times use the older generation panels as work platforms as to not sink into the mud. This puts tremendous stress on the entire product and easily cause cracks in wafers and solder lines.
- De-lamination / warranty claims. These modules were replaced for a reason and should never be put back in service for safety and performance reasons.
- Theft is also a big issue. As we all know, certain individuals do not shy away from cutting the fence to a solar farm and help themselves to a pickup truck load of modules and then sell them on social media sites.
- I have seen shattered module being resurfaced with epoxy mounted at two feet of the ground. The epoxy failing exposing live bus bars ready to be touched. ! HIGHLY UNSAFE !
A lot of these issues may not be apparent to the untrained eye. If you consider buying used, please take a professional with you and test each individual panel before the purchase. All in all, you may take an awful gamble by purchasing used modules that were never intended to be re-installed. And all the better, you can buy brand new high quality modules for $ 0.80 / W with warranty and no worries.