Surplus Solar Panels

Most people buy surplus solar panels because they seek to get solar electric panels at the lowest cost possible. However, one must ask himself whether buying discounted solar panels is the most cost effective alternative in the long run.

From where surplus solar panels are coming?

New surplus solar electric panels come from manufacturers. The three reasons manufacturers sell new solar panels at reduced prices are:

Out of Range Solar Panels

There is a spread in the work line (the current versus voltage curve) of solar electric panels and in their electrical power output capability. The manufacturer tests every panel to see that it meets the specified work line and power capability. Panels that are outside the spec tolerance are tagged and are not sold through the normal channels. They are sold through secondary channels, not always under the brand name of the original manufacturer.

Solar Panels rejects by Quality Control

Panels that were rejected by the manufacturer QC because slight mechanical defects or electrical minor defects were detected. These panels are in an “almost working conditions” and with some minor re-work might serve their purpose, however their life time expectancy might be shorter than normal

Older Models

Surplus of older models that are tough to sell because better newer designs are now available. These are panels in perfect working conditions, tested and carry the original manufacturer brand name.

Used solar panels

A second category is used and second hand solar electric panels. Used panels have already exhausted some of the manufacturer warranty and they have already reduced their electrical production power capability because of aging effects.

Advantages of Surplus Solar Panels

The main advantage in buying surplus solar electric panels is the cheaper buying price. Try to get the following if you buy discounted price solar panels:

  • Shop for tested panels and compare the price per watt. (and not the price per square feet)

  • Ask for a warranty and ask for the seller money back policy. However, taking off panels from the roof after they were installed costs money and there are shipping expenses.

Disadvantages and Limitations

  • The 30% federal energy tax credit is eligible for new solar panels only

  • You may end up with a reduced initial price and a lot of repair and maintenance expenses, less production than what you have hoped for and a shorter life than the one you expected

  • It is better to have panels that are similar in work line for best performance if they are connected to one DC to AC pure sine wave inverter.

Possible Remedies

Residential solar power systems can operate over 20 years and more, while the family car life expectancy is less than 8 years. Therefore, much more care must be given to the purchase and installation of solar panels. Here are some remedies that can alleviate the limitations of used and discounted panels that were mentioned above:

  • Try to get a package deal that includes the hardware, the installation and the warranty from a retailer that can provide all these.

  • For very small solar power systems that have only one or two panels, such as solar power for RV and marine boats or for cabins and sheds, the associated risk is minimal and you can dare to dip your feet in cold water.

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