Used Solar Panels
For people who may not have the required funding to install brand new solar energy systems then the possibility of obtaining used solar panels can be an attractive alternate solution.
Although used solar cells can be a wise choice they also come with some disadvantages. These disadvantages mainly relate to the uncertainty of how long the solar cells will last either due to their age or past usage. There are however several ways in which you can test used panels to gain a rough idea of the quality of the panels.
How Long Will Used Solar Panels Last?
Estimating the lifetime of a solar cell can be a complicated task. This is mainly down to the fact that some of the earlier solar products are still in use today. Some cells outlive their stated lifetime range which is usually anywhere around 30 years and as new solar technologies are brought to the marketplace, we don't fully know how long these products will last.
It's always advisable that if you know how to test used solar panels with a multimeter in good sunlight before purchase. This is a key test that will allow you to decide whether or not the panels you're looking to purchase are in good working order.
Disadvantages of Used Solar Panels
There are a variety of disadvantages relating to used/older solar panels, a couple of which are explained below:
- Older cells generally take up more space per wattage than modern day alternatives. This can be an issue for home owners who want low cost second hand solar panels, but don't have a great deal of space to accommodate their desired capacity.
- If you purchase used panels, then you also run the risk of purchasing damaged panels. Try to avoid second hand solar panels which are; cracked, scratched, appear to have condensation under the surface, or have brittle/loose connections. Although these problems can be fixed, a good quality used solar cell should give you less of a headache.
There is no doubt that used solar panels have the potential to save a significant amount of money for the financing of a renewable energy project, however, the above disadvantages of used cells should be taken into account.
- Written by James Bratley