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Second hand Solar Farm panels

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  • Second hand Solar Farm panels

    I have heard large solar farms replace a percentage of their panels starting after 5yrs. so they are all cycled out before 20yrs. Don't know if it is true of course.
    Perhaps the bean counters have calculated after 5yrs. the slightly more efficient technology, combined with the lower price and the declining current panel performance, not even taking into consideration depreciation etc...

    If its true, How to make sure you get good working panels?
    Off the top of my head I can think of bringing a thermal camera (to look for hotspots) and a multi-meter, but is that really enough?

    Also might be a good way to pick up a few panels of what you currently have so like-for-like replacement, if that matters to you.

    Thanks
    19 SPR X21 345 / SMA 6000TL-US22

  • #2
    Originally posted by LLB View Post
    I have heard large solar farms replace a percentage of their panels starting after 5yrs. so they are all cycled out before 20yrs. Don't know if it is true of course.
    Perhaps the bean counters have calculated after 5yrs. the slightly more efficient technology, combined with the lower price and the declining current panel performance, not even taking into consideration depreciation etc...
    Why would they replace perfectly good equipment?
    They do replace a percentage of the modules,.... the failed percentage.
    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LLB View Post
      I have heard large solar farms replace a percentage of their panels starting after 5yrs. so they are all cycled out before 20yrs. Don't know if it is true of course.
      Don't believe everything you hear. See Butch's post.

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      • #4
        Most Solar Farms that were built several years ago were built with public funds using Thin Film solar panels. Remember First Solar? Anyway those farms were built to be sold to suckers at a profit because they used free money and the cheapest panels money could buy. Thin Film panels only last 5 to 7 years before needing replaced. Like buying used condoms.
        Last edited by Sunking; 05-15-2018, 10:22 AM.
        MSEE, PE

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        • #5
          How could the slightly better efficiency of a new panel ever make up for the expense of materials and labor required to change them out unless a panel has completely failed?

          No one is doing this (unless they have some accounting tricks that benefits them greatly and hides the true costs).
          Dave W. Gilbert AZ
          6.63kW grid-tie owner

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          • #6
            One thing I've seen a lot of is scratch and dented panels pulled and replaced before commissioning a large commercial solar plant. These can be a good deal if you don't mind some cosmetic flaws.
            2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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            • #7
              Thank you for all the replies.
              OK, I'm going with this is a typical case of miscommunication with a pinch of opportunism.

              Occam's Razor clearly falls on both; a % of panels are mishandled during large installation jobs and some fail with in first yr. or two.

              That information gets out by the one or two commercial installer crew members that bought the scratch'n'dented ones for themselves and bragged to friends.

              Then the "used" market takes that information and spins a nice story adding in the depreciation / write-off bit. Sure a crew goes in every year to replace panels on large farms but they are failures that you don't want.

              So new or nothing! Well free would be ok if you were doing a project shed, but not for your main gig.

              Thanks
              19 SPR X21 345 / SMA 6000TL-US22

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