Should I buy Used Solar Panels?

The price for new solar panels is $0.5/Watt. The price for used solar panels is $0.12/Watt (both without shipping).

You can get used solar panels from SantanSolar.

Key Takeaways
  • Price Comparison: New solar panels cost $0.5/Watt, while used panels are much cheaper at $0.12/Watt.
  • Suitability: Used panels are ideal for small-scale projects but less suitable for large installations.
  • Warranty: Used solar panels often come without a warranty, increasing the risk of unanticipated expenses.
  • Degradation: Used panels may have significantly reduced efficiency due to degradation over time (0.5-1% yearly).
  • Incentives: Buying used panels typically disqualifies you from government incentives and rebates.

Let’s explore the key takeaways in detail:

Price Used VS New

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Used solar panels are generally more affordable than new ones. This lower price point makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals or those looking to experiment with solar power without a significant upfront investment.
  • Price vs. Performance: While the initial cost is lower, it’s important to balance this with the expected performance and lifespan. The savings on the purchase price should justify the potential decrease in efficiency and shorter operational life.
Used solar panels from Santansolar

Array Size

  • Small Installations: For small-scale projects, like DIY solar projects, home use, or small off-grid applications, used solar panels can be a practical choice. The lower cost and the typically smaller energy requirements make them well-suited for such installations.
  • Large Installations: For larger installations, such as commercial solar farms or extensive residential setups, the drawbacks of used panels (like reduced efficiency and reliability) can be amplified. New panels are usually preferred for their longer lifespan, higher efficiency, and warranty coverage.

Degradation of Used Solar Panels

  • Efficiency Loss: Solar panels degrade over time, losing about 0.5% to 1% of their efficiency per year. Used panels, depending on their age and history, may have significantly reduced efficiency, impacting the overall energy output of your installation.
  • Physical Condition: Factors like micro-cracks, delamination, and weathering can further reduce the performance of used panels.


  • Limited or No Warranty: One of the major drawbacks of used panels is the lack of warranty coverage. If the panels are out of their warranty period or if the warranty is non-transferable, you won’t have protection against future malfunctions or degradation.
  • Risk Assessment: Without a warranty, any future issues will need to be addressed out of pocket, which can affect the long-term financial viability of the installation.

Ineligibility for Incentives

  • Government Incentives: Many government incentives or rebates for solar installations require the use of new, certified equipment. Used panels typically do not qualify for these programs.
  • Financial Implications: The inability to access these incentives can offset the initial savings from buying used panels, especially in larger installations where incentives can form a significant part of the financial planning.

2 thoughts on “Should I buy Used Solar Panels?”

  1. Very small home we are building.. 720sqft.. tho its a metal building so its cubic footage is bigger than a typical house of the same size. Heated with a fireplace so the most expensive electricity exposure for us is eliminated. Basic appliances will be as efficient as possible as well.. I have ballparked and left significant headroom based on our larger house now. An with a good headroom Im coming in at 9600kwh a year.. and I heard US ratios are on average 1.3-1.6 times the array size.. so a 10kw system would bring in 13kw-16kw annually. So im assuming I could do 7500-8000 watt system fairly easily. We will be insulating very well.. and reflective rubberized roof coating over the top… and making the house a positive air-flow chamber with a hepa filtered intake vent… having a full length vent cap for the roof. the rest will be carefully sealed and layered over in a few inches of closed cell sprayed insulation with hatches to place dessicates inside the wall to prevent interior condensation with dramatic temperature fluctuations we get here. So still deciding on used or new.. and the storage type and depth. Modular setups seem limited in size and some are over expensive so Im looking at designing my on setup of coverter/storage/capacitor stabilizing systems and such… A good bit of information may be to source large companies that have turnover that you cant rely on no funny business instead of individuals… like pre-tested efficiency rating over time before selling .. but its hard to find anything like that..


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