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 [maxrebates] 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.
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Older models will have outdated technology and lack the high-output technology of new solar panel models.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
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
- 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.
Purchasing second-hand solar panels may seem like a cost-effective choice, but it carries several risks and drawbacks that could make it a poor investment:
- No Solar Power Rebates or Incentives: In Australia, the Federal Government offers significant Solar Rebates for accredited solar installations. Second-hand panels might not qualify for these rebates, making them more expensive overall. If the panels are accredited, the initial owner likely claimed the rebate, making it unavailable for future buyers.
- Older Technology: Second-hand panels often use outdated technology, offering less efficiency and performance than modern models. Advancements in solar technology have made newer models cheaper and more efficient, offering higher energy output and longer lifespans.
- Risk of Damage: There’s always a chance that second-hand panels could be damaged, even if it’s not immediately visible. The process of uninstalling, transporting, and reinstalling the panels can cause damage that may only become apparent after installation. Unlike new panels, used ones typically aren’t covered by a warranty that would replace damaged units.
- Performance Degradation: Like all technology, solar panels’ performance decreases over time. Used panels are likely to produce less energy and suffer more performance fluctuations than new panels. Additionally, most warranties for performance will be voided when panels are purchased second-hand.
- Voided Warranties: Warranties that come with new solar installations – covering panels, inverters, and installation – are usually voided when panels are uninstalled and reinstalled elsewhere.
- Package vs Separate Components: Solar systems usually include several components, such as inverters and connectors, that are designed to work together seamlessly. Buying a complete package is often more efficient and cost-effective than purchasing and installing parts separately, which could also void warranties on some components.
Considering these factors, buying a new solar system from an accredited installer is usually a better investment. With recent drops in prices and available Solar Rebates, new solar systems have become affordable and beneficial for many households. Buyers are encouraged to seek quotes from local accredited installers to ensure quality and efficiency.