Top 5 Reasons to Say No to Second-Hand Solar Panels

You might be scrolling through Facebook Marketplace or spot an ad on EBay or Gumtree—used solar panels! The price is low and the panels themselves seem to be in reasonable condition… what could go wrong?

The reality is you might want to think twice when considering buying second-hand solar panels. There are many reasons why the risk is likely not worth the reward.

Here are 5 of the most common reasons you might want to steer clear from used panels when looking to go solar.

No manufacturer’s warranty

First off, new solar panels are backed by a manufacturer’s warranty. That means that if manufacturers discover there is an issue with your solar panels within a certain time frame (usually 10 years), they have an obligation to replace them free of charge. It also means that they will repair your solar system for free if there are any issues or faults in the system itself, other than those caused by accidents involving people or pets. The main point here is that brand new solar panels are protected with a warranty! Now if you buy second-hand solar panels, well…don’t expect much help from the manufacturer or the original owners of the panels if they are faulty. Also, while it is possible to find an installer willing to install used solar panels, most are reluctant to do so because they may take on responsibility for any faults.

No Government rebates or incentives

Most solar panels on the market today qualify for federal and/or state government rebates and incentives. From solar panel and battery rebates and Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) to feed-in-tariffs and interest-free loans, the state and federal government offer incentives that offset not only the upfront costs of purchasing the system but also reduce the total cost of ownership for many years to come. However, if you purchase second-hand solar panels, these incentives are no longer available. Why? Because the old owner has undoubtedly already claimed any existing rebates or incentives they were entitled to… and there’s no chance of double-dipping.

Degraded quality and efficiency

Solar panels have an expected life cycle of at least 25 years if properly maintained, however, like any electrical product, they will degrade and lose efficiency over time. This is usually due to external factors such as heat and weather conditions, dust accumulation, or due to damage to the fragile cells inside the panels. Some second-hand solar panels might come with obvious damage, but not all damage is noticeable straight away. Sometimes if panels efficiency fluctuates and drops during periods of the day and then rises again for no reasonable explanation, it might mean that the cells inside are damaged. Shattered cells or broken glass might lead to leaks and, if too much water gets inside the solar panel, it will work less efficiently. When you buy solar panels brand new, you know that they are damage-free and at the beginning of their expected life cycle.

New-tech vs. old tech

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 advanced, 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.

Biting off more than you can chew

Researching solar panel technologies, manufacturers, types of panels, sizing, and installation methods can be very time-consuming when you are not an expert in the area. You may find yourself overwhelmed with conflicting information on the internet, not to mention the large task of actually having to install the panels yourself, or finding someone who can install them. Then there’s the question of whether the panels or invertor actually comply with current Australian standards! By buying solar panels brand new from a respected retailer, you won’t need to worry about any of this. Trusted solar companies possess all the knowledge and all the right people to design the right system and install the system correctly.

The bottom line…

Second hand solar panels probably won’t save you any money—in fact, it will likely increase the cost of an installation by thousands of dollars. You can’t claim rebates on them, they have reduced efficiency which means less power output (and therefore higher utility bills), and there is no guarantee about their reliability or quality. If you want to invest in solar panels for your home or business, it’s best for both your wallet and the planet to buy new systems with government rebates from trusted local installers backed by warranty. We can provide three obligation-free quotes from trusted local installers – it will only take a few minutes!