The prices for solar modules are falling rapidly
Are used solar modules worthwhile?
If you want to buy a solar system, you usually first find out about the market situation, prices and services. What is common for cars, however, is often not taken into account for solar modules: the second-hand market. Whether specialized providers such as SecondSol, Solar Deals and Tripple Z or generalists such as Ebay classifieds, numerous second-hand components are offered via the platforms.
Sometimes buyers only pay half the new price, depending on the type of module, the type, its condition, its age and its performance. That sounds like a good deal: why expensive when it can also be cheaper?
Advantages of used solar modules
However, the calculation is not that simple. This becomes clear when you compare the advantages and disadvantages of buying a used vehicle. On the plus side, in addition to the Price savings, the Environmental balance. The manufacture of solar modules consumes a lot of energy. In addition, valuable, but difficult to dispose of, materials are built into the components. Therefore, using it for as long as possible is a far smarter alternative than "Ex and hopp".
By the way: Since 2016, PV modules have been subject to the so-called Electronic Scrap Act (ElektroG). When they can no longer be used, they must be collected separately and recycled. Consumers with normal household quantities can return their disused modules to a collection point in their municipality free of charge.
In addition, it is possible that you are already the proud owner of a solar system, but individual modules are defective or have been destroyed. It stands to reason, then after cheap replacement because the intact, but no longer fresh modules continue to do their job on the roof.
Another reason for used could be that the Manufacturer of the original modules no longer exists, so these are no longer offered on the market as new goods. Good for those who can still complete their “collection” true to the original. In such cases, there is no need to worry about the feed-in tariff: According to the EEG / KWKG clearing house, buyers of used modules are also assigned the "commissioning time and thus the tariff rate and the tariff period of the replaced (old) modules if these old modules are due to a technical defect , damage or theft have been replaced ”.
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Disadvantages of used solar modules
However, there are some significant disadvantages to offset these pluses. One of them is Degradation: This describes the decline in the performance of the modules over the years. It is therefore essential to inquire about the age of the cells when buying a used device. Normally, this should be part of the standard description of the condition in order to better assess the benefits of the product. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in practice. It should also be borne in mind that new goods come with guarantees that guarantee a minimum performance, at least in the first few years. For older modules it may have expired.
Furthermore are Damage a tricky thing. It is true that reports from practice can be found time and again, according to which minor defects had little or no effect on the performance of the solar module. But the risk of making a mistake here in order to save a little more money is great. Basically, this is only recommended to experts who are very familiar with the subject and can assess what the module is still capable of - and what is no longer. Interested parties should rather refrain from buying components with greater or irreparable damage.
“The trend is your friend,” says the stock exchange, and this also applies to solar modules. New product prices have fallen rapidly over the past decade. This is another reason to think carefully about whether the savings on a used module outweigh the risk Inefficient or even broken product to buy. Who buys cheap, buys twice - another often valid wisdom. Especially when you consider that the solar modules are the heart of a solar system, with whose output the whole system can stand and fall.
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You should pay attention to this when buying used solar modules
Do the advantages predominate in your individual situation? Are you aware of the possible downsides? Then basically nothing speaks against used solar modules for you. There are a few points you should consider when researching:
- Inquire about the age and the technical documentation or the serial number of the module as well as any guarantees that are still valid. This information is a good way of determining its likely current performance and value. In addition, in the case of modules that are not structurally identical, it should of course be checked whether the used components fit your system in terms of both electrical and structural engineering.
- Inquire about any damage, soiling or other possible impairments.
- If possible, examine the modules with your own eyes or with the help of an expert. He can also measure whether the parts still deliver what they (or the seller) promise. Similar to household electrical appliances, the manufacturer's information, for example on degradation, is not exact, as it depends on many practical factors. In other words: The modules used can actually be significantly better or worse than their calculated performance value.
- If possible, consult comparative and long-term tests of solar modules in order to better assess how certain models have fared in practice.
- Prepare a cost / benefit analysis: Are the price savings for the used module so great that they outweigh the underperformance and the other risks compared to buying a new one?
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