Why Second-Hand Solar Panels Won’t Reduce Costs


Solar Panels Saving

The most common reason to install a solar system is to reduce electricity bills and the cost of living, so it’s no surprise that you’d want to minimise the upfront cost of purchasing and installing a system when you do. For this reason, some people consider the option of buying used or second-hand solar panels when looking to install. Whilst this might sound like a great way to get a bargain and reduce the amount you spend, there are many reasons why doing this (as opposed to purchasing new panels) will cost your more, turning your investment into a complete disaster.

Second-hand Solar Panels Will Not Qualify For Solar Power Rebates Or Incentives

In Australia individuals and small businesses who install solar systems are eligible for the Federal Government Solar Rebate which provides large reductions to the upfront cost of a solar PV system. In 2019 rebates as high as $3,458 are accessible however the installer, solar system and its components must be accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) stating that they meet the Australian performance and quality standards.

Solar Panels Return on Investment

By purchasing second-hand solar panels, you risk the possibility of purchasing poor quality and unaccredited panels. This means you will be unable to claim the Solar Power Rebate and therefore end up paying more for lesser quality panels.

If the second-hand solar panels are on the CEC accredited list the initial owner would have used the Solar Power Rebate to purchase the panels new and therefore you won’t be able to claim the rebate again.

In addition, CEC accredited installers will not want to put their company’s reputation at risk by installing used panels, as they have no way of knowing the quality or history of the panels.

New And Old Solar Panel Technology Comparison

Older models will have outdated technology and lack the high-output technology of new solar panel models. In the past 10 years solar panel technology has rapidly advanced, with newer, more efficient and higher performing panels being released every year. As technology has advance the cost of solar panels has swiftly dropped, meaning it is affordable to invest in new and high efficiency solar panels which will provide a greater energy output, have a longer lifespan and reduce electricity bills more than older models would.

Solar Panels May Be Damaged

If you choose to purchase second-hand solar panels there will always be the possibility that the solar panels are damaged even if it is not visible. While panels have no moving components and are low maintenance once installed, they are fragile and un-installing them to transport and re-install elsewhere poses likelihood of damage. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to test whether there is damage until the panels have been installed, which is not very convenient nor cheap.

While damage to brand new panels can also occur when transporting or installing, you’ll be covered by warranty and would be entitled to a replacement at no cost.

Solar Panel Performance Comparison

Roof With Solar Panels

If the used panels are in working order, they are going to under-perform in comparison to new panels. As like with any technology, the performance of solar panels declines as the panels go further into their lifespan. Most performance warranties will state panels being able to provide 90% production for 10 years and 80% for a further 15 years. Or in other words only decline by 10% in performance in the first 10 years and by 20% in the warranty period of 25 years.

Older panels may also experience fluctuations with no plausible reason other than age, damaged cells or outdated technology. If this happens you may experience high energy output one day and then a complete drop on another despite weather conditions being the same.

It’s important to note that the performance warranty will in most cases be voided when purchased as second-hand solar panels.

Solar Panel Warranty Will Be Voided

Solar Panels Installer in Australia

When you purchase and install a new solar system, CEC accredited installers will provide you with the following warranties;

  • Panel Product Warranty
  • Panel Performance Warranty
  • Inverter Warranty
  • Installation Warranty

These warranties will cover you should there be any issues with your system (inclusive of panels) and installation, under the stated time-frame. When panels are uninstalled and re-installed elsewhere the warranties will be voided and therefore useless.

It’s Better To Buy Residential Solar System Packages Over Buying Components Separately

A solar system consists of several components that work together to receive and convert sunlight from DC electricity to AC electricity, which our household appliances use to run. These components need to be able to connect and communicate to each other without disruption. CEC Accredited Installers and Retailers are experts in what models and brands of components can do this efficiency. For this reason, solar systems are usually bought as a package deal as opposed to choosing parts separately.

You’ll find purchasing a solar system and the installation as a package more time and cost efficient in most cases.

Another a reason you may want to avoid purchasing parts separately is the possibility of your second-hand solar panels voiding the warranty on another component. If you buy second-hand panels to connect to a brand-new inverter and issues with the inverter occur, the installer or manufacturer may have reason to put blame on the second-hand panels and therefore void your warranty.

New Solar Panels Are An Affordable And Beneficial Investment

By investing in a new solar system with CEC accredited components and installed by a CEC accredited installer you will not only be given peace of mind that the system will work efficiently in reducing your electricity costs, but you’ll be covered should there be any issues.These days solar systems have become an affordable and worthwhile purchase for the average household with the assistance of  Solar Rebates, as well as the drop in the solar system prices in recent years.

Don’t Take The Risk Of Poor Quality Solar.

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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