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As the solar industry develops, new opportunities for business present themselves to meet the expanding requirements of an "after-market," which includes distributors, trading businesses, third-party warranty providers, and recycling and refurbishing companies. These kinds of opportunities make it possible for a wider variety of refurbished machinery, such as solar panels and inverters, to be sold at lower prices on the worldwide market.
Why buy refurbished solar panels and inverters?
Investing in remanufactured solar technology could very well turn out to be the best option for a number of different reasons. It's possible that cheaper prices will be more appealing to some customers than the most cutting-edge technology available. Others are looking for specialised components that can replace older arrays. There are still those who might like to add to the already-existing arrays.
The following are examples of real-life situations that have been provided by EnergyBin members who are buyers and sellers in the trading of refurbished equipment. EnergyBin is a wholesale solar B2B exchange that brings together solar enterprises from all points along the supply chain to facilitate the buying and selling of new, used, excess, refurbished, and hard-to-find solar equipment.
Purchasing refurbished solar equipment
- Interested in purchasing a replacement component We are looking for a SolarWorld SW Sunmodule 175W that is either used or reconditioned and comes with a warranty as soon as feasible.
- It is necessary to get a precise replacement for: a panel with a Sanyo 210W, VOC 50 Volts, and ISC 5.29 AMP rating; only one panel is required to replace a damaged component at an existing location; no warranty is required.
- Investing in Solar Panels for an Already Existing Array: Suniva 265W modules have silver frames and white backsheets; in order to expand an existing array, there is a need for six of these panels; however, used panels will be accepted without warranty.
Selling refurbished solar equipment
- Inverters that have been refurbished and are available for purchase from their original manufacturer include the following: CPS Inverters 14, 20, 23, 28, and 36 kW Units: Refurbished spares are available for purchase with a 5-year service warranty from CPS; the price is $1,800, and the quantity is 100 units.
- Inverters that have been repaired and resold by their original manufacturers include the Fronius Symo 10.0-3 208/240 Lite, which has been repaired and resold by its original manufacturer because the buyer ordered the wrong inverter. warranty of 9 years; the price is $2,000, and the quantity is 2.
- Refurbished inverters for sale by the reseller: SMA SB 2500U, which has been reconditioned by the reseller and comes with a warranty of ninety days; Price: $895; Quantity: 10
These are just a few instances of the many different kinds of situations that can arise in the solar industry today. As more people begin to use solar energy, there will be a greater demand for one-of-a-kind replacement parts and additions to existing arrays. The secondary market is where you may find replacement solar panels and other parts.
The smart way to buy refurbished
When contemplating the purchase of refurbished solar panels and inverters, potential purchasers should ensure that the items satisfy the client's requirements regarding energy efficiency, that they have been put through extensive testing, and that they are affordable. In addition, in order to lower the likelihood of making a poor acquisition, purchasers had to exercise prudence by completing research on resellers before engaging in commercial interactions with them.
Make sure that your client's expectations for energy efficiency are clear.
The buyer should make sure that the reconditioned equipment meets their requirements for energy efficiency and is compatible with the other components that are already in use before making the purchase.
The vast majority of companies that produce solar panels offer a performance guarantee that extends for the first 25 years of the panel's lifecycle and states that there will be no more than a 20% drop in the amount of electricity it produces. After that point, a panel will continue to produce electricity, albeit at a decreased rate of about 6–8% per year.
According to Bob Shallenberger, Vice President of Corporate Development at Interco Trading Company, a solar panel recycler in the United States and a member of SEIA, "just because a solar panel is out of date or inefficient in its present capacity or use does not mean that it needs to be discarded." "Plenty of solar panels that are supplemented with more advanced, more effective ones can be repurposed to help those less fortunate both nationally and internationally," he says.
A discussion with customers about their energy consumption, their objectives for their solar investment, and their available financial resources may open the door to the prospect of buying and installing reconditioned technology as an alternative to new equipment.
You Love Solar is an example of the type of reseller that specialises in the resale of secondhand solar panels and inverters. Customers include do-it-yourself homes as well as businesses that are searching for replacement parts that are difficult to locate.
If you are a buyer who does not have a business background in solar, you may want to pursue the consultation of a PV installer, who can advise you as to whether the refurbished product you are considering purchasing is compatible with other solar equipment in your system. If you do seek the consultation of a PV installer, you may want to consider the following:
Buyers can also find it helpful to get the perspective of a PV recycling firm that has experience in repair work. Refer to the National PV Recycling Program run by SEIA for an informed perspective on the matter. The Sustainable Electronics Industry Association (SEIA) collaborates with a variety of recycling businesses around the United States. These businesses are able to provide buyers and resellers with guidance on product standards and recycling services for equipment that is damaged beyond repair.
Test before (and after) purchasing.
It is imperative that customers only acquire products that have been tested, in addition to validating their requirements for energy efficiency. Be wary of acquiring used solar equipment that is being sold at a low price but has not been evaluated for its safety or ability to fulfil its intended function. These types of panels could be termed "electronic waste," which has a tendency to flood international markets because there are no standards governing the disposal of electronic waste. In several circumstances, it may be impossible to file a claim about a purchase of damaged items after the transaction has taken place.
E-waste from solar panels was the topic of a recent article published by Forbes. The article states that "thousands of tonnes of e-waste are erroneously claimed as second-hand items and exported from industrialised countries to underdeveloped countries... Used solar panels, in contrast to most other types of imported electronic garbage, are permitted to enter countries legally before being deposited in e-waste streams.
Purchasers must only purchase from distributors who have established their legitimacy as repairers and/or who ensure the product meets commonly accepted safety specifications, such as the international standard IEC 61730. This will help buyers avoid the risk of purchasing e-waste. Buyers can find reputable repairers by searching online. General inspection, potential for electrical discharge, potential for fire, potential for mechanical stress, and potential for environmental stress are the test categories covered by this standard.
The performance of the amps and voltages will be measured, and the results will be documented in writing if the reseller is reputable. In addition to this, purchasers are responsible for conducting adequate quality assurance testing upon receipt of the equipment.
For example, Comet Solar, which is located in Anguilla, which is a British territory in the Caribbean, uses the Seaward Solar PV150 to run electrical tests and guarantees that U.S. National Electrical Code standards on safety are met prior to selling refurbished solar panels to customers. These tests are run in order to ensure that Comet Solar is meeting the requirements of the U.S. National Electrical Code.
Again, making sure that the component satisfies the client's requirements for energy performance and that it is safe to commission are two of the most important factors to consider when buying reconditioned solar equipment.
Conduct a cost analysis.
In conclusion, the purchaser needs to perform a cost comparison between purchasing new or used solar equipment. When determining how much it will cost to purchase used solar equipment, there are a few different considerations that need to be given priority.
The recommendation to recycle the panel is made by Interco Trading Company as a general rule if the cost of refurbishing the panel (including shipping expenses, material costs, and labour costs) exceeds the panel's value on the market. In addition, Interco suggests recycling panels that have shattered glass rather than refurbishing them because the cost of doing so does not make economic sense.
Other considerations include the price of the hardware for the required quantity, the cost of shipping and handling (including any import or export tariffs for international sales), the cost of financing (if the item is bought on credit), the cost of insurance premiums, the cost of brokerage fees, and the cost of depreciation and maintenance over the anticipated length of use (if a warranty is not included).
Buyers who do not have knowledge of the logistics of transportation and customs processes and who are thinking about purchasing solar equipment situated in another country may wish to engage with a solar broker who specialises in the international trade of equipment. Brokers contribute to the reduction of risk and aid in the negotiation of the terms of the transaction.
Read the article titled "A Comprehensive Guide to Wholesale Solar Equipment Brokering" if you are interested in learning more about the work that wholesale solar equipment brokers do.
Before purchasing reconditioned solar equipment, buyers who take the time to undertake careful cost analyses, verify safety requirements, and validate energy efficiency goals have a clear grasp of their buying needs, which will assist in driving the sales dialogue with resellers.
Connect to a reputable reseller.
When it has been determined that refurbished solar equipment will be purchased, consumers have the ability to take additional steps to verify the reputation of a reseller. By doing so, buyers further lessen the likelihood that they will be saddled with technology that does not live up to their expectations or, even worse, e-waste.
Verify if the entity in question is, in fact, a firm, as a general rule of thumb. This step can be swiftly completed for businesses based in the United States by going online to the website of the Secretary of State in the state in which the company is headquartered. Conduct a search for the company using the name listed in the business directory. If the firm is incorporated, the search results will provide information regarding the incorporation as well as indicate whether or not the company is in good standing legally.
Reputable resellers will have success records and recommendations available online, where they are quite easy to find. They always present themselves in a professional manner online (through websites, Google business listings, and social media profiles). Their clients have provided glowing testimonials regarding the quality of the company's goods and services. They frequently participate in business organisations such as chambers of commerce and/or trade associations. They might also have a rating from the Better Business Bureau in the United States.
A great number of resellers post their wares for sale on third-party online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, clearing houses, and exchanges. Reviewing the screening criteria that are enforced by online marketplaces is another way that buyers can cut their risk exposure.
Some marketplaces and exchanges let anyone participate and do not take any responsibility or obligation for the transactions that take place there. Others, such as EnergyBin, are limited solely to registered solar enterprises that satisfy the membership requirements and who provide references from their previous clients.
Customers using online marketplaces or auction websites should give the site's terms and conditions a thorough reading before making any purchases there.
Warning: Although many online marketplaces and auction sites advertise free registration, they often charge sellers and buyers transaction fees when an item is sold. The fees may be passed on from the seller to the buyer.
In the Terms and Conditions section, a detailed explanation of the various fee schedules should be included.
Last but not least, prospective buyers who are looking for replacement parts for broken equipment should start by consulting with their respective insurance agents. Your insurance company may have connections to trustworthy repairers who work to complete repairs in the safest and most cost-effective way possible, and they may be able to refer you to these repairers.
Build relationships that lead to opportunities.
Even though it is impossible to completely remove risk, buyers can significantly lessen their exposure to danger if they are aware of the identity of the seller. Establishing a connection with a reputable reseller is analogous to beginning an important relationship. The best strategy for buyers is to first put forth the effort to establish trust, and only then should they consider taking a risk. Relationships that are meaningful and in which both the buyer and the seller fulfil their obligations under the terms of the agreement might pave the way for future commercial prospects.
As the solar sector evolves, new business opportunities exist to service the growing needs of an "after-market" encompassing resellers, brokerage firms, third-party warranty providers, and recycling and restoration enterprises. If you're interested in purchasing used solar panels and inverters, it's important to make sure they're up to snuff in terms of energy efficiency, durability, and price. Even though it's hard to eliminate risk entirely, shoppers can take precautions by researching a company's reputation before making a purchase. Connecting to a reputed reseller is like starting a significant friendship. Buyers should invest the time to create trust, and when it feels like the perfect time, take a gamble.
Is it true that older solar panels are more efficient than newer ones?
According to research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar panels suffer an annual degradation of approximately 0.5% on average. This indicates that after 20 years, a solar panel will likely generate energy at a level that is 90 percent of its maximum output when it was brand new.
What are the characteristics of a high-quality solar panel?
The three-step process for selecting your solar panels
Determine the effectiveness of solar panels and evaluate their performance in comparison to the 16–18% industry average.
Examine the warranties offered by solar panel manufacturers in comparison to the industry average of 10–25 years.
Compare the cost to the relative efficiency of the panels. Efficiency is crucial, but the panels with the highest efficiency might not always be the best value.
How long can the lifespan of solar panels be expected to be?
Solar panels, usually referred to as photovoltaic or PV panels, are constructed to have a lifespan that is greater than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels that were installed in the 1980s are still operating at or above the capacity that was originally anticipated for them. Not only do solar panels have a remarkable track record for dependability, but their lifespans have also drastically improved over the past two decades.
Is it a good idea to invest in solar panels that have been used before?
On the other hand, their lifespan is often shorter than that of a brand new panel. Used: It is reasonable to anticipate some level of performance degradation from used solar panels. They may also break more easily than a panel that has been restored. Used solar panels should be treated with special care to ensure that they will continue to serve you well on your rooftop.
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