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(Some Guy)   Land-filling old solar panels is a problem? Not if you sell your old ones on the hopping aftermarket. "If it's a working solar panel, there is always a buyer"   (solarpowerworldonline.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Photovoltaics, solar owners, second-hand modules, solar policy, solar panels, secondary market, International Business, PV professionals  
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655 clicks; posted to Business » on 20 Jan 2021 at 9:50 AM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



17 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2021-01-20 10:09:05 AM  
If a panel no longer generates much electricity, it won't be worth much.

But it is worth something because the electricity is worth something... it's not junk.
 
2021-01-20 10:16:51 AM  

SomeAmerican: If a panel no longer generates much electricity, it won't be worth much.

But it is worth something because the electricity is worth something... it's not junk.



Panels degrade at roughly 1% per year.  That's really not that bad at all; solid state electronics are like that.

I wouldn't be junking panels unless I was space constrained.  Especially considering that you'd have to pay the installers extra to yank the old panels off, and they'd probably want to erect their own support structure anyway.
 
2021-01-20 10:25:50 AM  

FrancoFile: SomeAmerican: If a panel no longer generates much electricity, it won't be worth much.

But it is worth something because the electricity is worth something... it's not junk.


Panels degrade at roughly 1% per year.  That's really not that bad at all; solid state electronics are like that.

I wouldn't be junking panels unless I was space constrained.  Especially considering that you'd have to pay the installers extra to yank the old panels off, and they'd probably want to erect their own support structure anyway.


I wish batteries had such a slow degredation rate. 82% of original capacity after a Score... That's awesome.
 
2021-01-20 12:04:19 PM  
I just installed a battery backup system for critical loads in our house.  I can install 2000 watts of used solar to keep it charged up, for less than$1000.  New panels would be closer to $3000
 
2021-01-20 12:40:01 PM  

QFarker: I just installed a battery backup system for critical loads in our house.  I can install 2000 watts of used solar to keep it charged up, for less than$1000.  New panels would be closer to $3000


Home Depot sells 100 watt panels for $100
 
2021-01-20 1:35:01 PM  
Till solar panels are my roof solar isn't going on my roof to be smashed by a hurricane.
 
2021-01-20 6:45:40 PM  
I knew this was going to be a thing. If there is a great market for old EVs, there will be one for solar, and it will be better.

My panels turn 10 years old in about two weeks. I keep track of their degradation by looking at their rated capacity out of the factory. I have a sheet for each panel in the array showing what lab tests reveal about their capacity, so I know what they were before installation. It is a little higher than the amount "I paid for." I also look at the MAXIMUM OUTPUT they have ever achieved. It is sensed at 3 or 4 second splits, and records are kept. Japanese panels. All Japanese materials. Japanese installation.

Therefore, I have data for the last 10 years to present. Anyone interested?

If we call installation 100%, then the maximum output I ever achieved was 100.2%. That was in about 2014. I tied that output again last March. Yesterday, I hit 98.92%.

Therefore, I have no reason to believe that my panels have degraded AT ALL over the last 10 years. None. Zero. I have never cleaned them once. I have never had a problem with the panels or inverters. We even had a lightning strike that took out some home appliances in about 2013, but no problems with any solar related devices.

I made a 10 year contract with my utility, and it is just about finished. I "broke even" in about 6.5 years. The rate I was getting from my utility was about 50 cents per kWh. That will drop to 9 cents per kWh. Peak rates during the day mean that I have to pay 30 cents per kWh for what I buy. From here on in, I will be using as much of my solar-produced electricity as I can, rather than selling it.

My panels are old, but I will not be swapping them out. The extra 20% to 30% capacity over the same surface area is not enough to offset the labor and other costs, even if I sell my old panels. Commercial operations, on the other hand, might swap panels during periods of low interest rates or low labor rates.
 
2021-01-20 6:52:57 PM  

HempHead: QFarker: I just installed a battery backup system for critical loads in our house.  I can install 2000 watts of used solar to keep it charged up, for less than$1000.  New panels would be closer to $3000

Home Depot sells 100 watt panels for $100


Two days ago I bought 8 Canadian made panels in Australia for AU$1267 palleted, delivered and unloaded.  Today that is US$983 so about $123 each for 360 w panels that meet US midwest hail requirements. The price went up about 10% from 6 months ago due to more local demand since people are at home using their power for work.

The frame was about $300 with the wind load certificate.  The inverter was a $600 I found on sale.  There is about $300 worth of wires, conduit, switches, fuses and warning signs as well.
 
2021-01-20 7:10:49 PM  

2fardownthread: I have never cleaned them once.


Around here we get dust storms that are followed by very light rain making a thin level of mud.  I noticed my new panels have a gap around the frame so any dirt that gets stuck where the glass meets the frame will not shadow any of the cells.

New panels are making more use of the sun at lower angles than the 10 year old panels.  Those are still pricy but I expect that to change over the next 5 years. Here we in the winter, a panel will produce about 4 hours  a day but the new ones produce for 6.
 
2021-01-20 7:51:15 PM  

DON.MAC: 2fardownthread: I have never cleaned them once.

Around here we get dust storms that are followed by very light rain making a thin level of mud.  I noticed my new panels have a gap around the frame so any dirt that gets stuck where the glass meets the frame will not shadow any of the cells.

New panels are making more use of the sun at lower angles than the 10 year old panels.  Those are still pricy but I expect that to change over the next 5 years. Here we in the winter, a panel will produce about 4 hours  a day but the new ones produce for 6.


We also get dust storms from China deserts. They are called Kosa. They come each year in about March and April. It never seems to get to the mud stage, but I can imagine. You can see the effect on the haze data from the solar panels. What happens is that the dust DOES gather on the panels, but it is washed off in the next light rain. I do not think dust even reduces output by 5%.

All of my data and experience confirm what you are saying. I was lucky to get the premium panels available 10 years ago, with glass that had been developed for compensation of sun angles, etc. The glass is patented, so other manufacturers have been slow to adopt it, but it does make a huge difference. I have used other panels from other makers over the years, and they are ok, but there is a percentage difference.

I am at about 39 deg N, so I have seasons and daylengths similar to yours. As you know, panels have production on snowy, rainy and cloudy days. Heat and dust have effects. Overall, the effects are trivial. Day after day, the panels cover anywhere from 50% to 300% of my daily electricity needs.

I have been a lurker on Fark since before 9/11. I have seen a lot of negativity about solar PV, but 10 years ago I decided to get the personal residential array. Two weeks after they were installed, we had the quake, tsunami, and Fukushima. I was the only guy in the neighborhood with electricity, so I became popular. Here I am, with free electricity, "forever."

After looking at ALL the negativity over the years and being a skeptical person myself, I have to report that solar arrays are probably worth the investment no matter where you live, and that the technology is reliable. I have installed several arrays since. I keep waiting for problems, but they never come.

Panels are getting cheaper and better, but not enough that waiting will be worth it for the average person.

I have seen two practices over the years that have my head shaking. One is a guy who put 12 kW of panels on his roof, all facing WEST and even a little northward. Let's call it 280 deg. Another thing, which is pretty sad, is panels that are ground mounted at a low angle with accumulated snow on them. I am sure that all the weight stresses the panels and probably cracks the glass, which is a no-no.
 
2021-01-20 8:01:07 PM  
Maybe nobody cares, but NREL has reported that perovskite solar cells have reached the level of efficiency provided by silicon cells. That is a big deal. It is already a past-tense achievement.

The implications are that the base material for PV cells will become much cheaper and give some diversity in applications, etc. It will take some time for them to replace silicon cells because the manufacturing infrastructure is geared to producing the silicon cells. If all the capital being tied up in GPUs to mine Bitcoin and in batteries for EVs were applied to developing solar PV, we could do a better job of replacing fossil fuels by replacing coal and gas burning power plants with PV.

Making solar PV cheaper and better benefits the whole world, not just rich people in rich countries.
 
2021-01-20 9:26:36 PM  

HempHead: QFarker: I just installed a battery backup system for critical loads in our house.  I can install 2000 watts of used solar to keep it charged up, for less than$1000.  New panels would be closer to $3000

Home Depot sells 100 watt panels for $100


That's $1 per watt, just for the panels.  The used panels I am looking at are 38 cents per watt (and I've even found them cheaper than that).  Even after install they will cost less than 50 cents per watt, so half of what HD charges just for panels.
 
2021-01-20 10:00:10 PM  

2fardownthread: Two weeks after they were installed, we had the quake, tsunami, and Fukushima. I was the only guy in the neighborhood with electricity, so I became popular. Here I am, with free electricity, "forever."


The grid connect inverters here and in Europe and USA have to shut down if the grid fails to prevent electrocuting workers who are fixed downed power lines.  Does your system have a battery storage?

I have seen two practices over the years that have my head shaking. One is a guy who put 12 kW of panels on his roof, all facing WEST and even a little northward. Let's call it 280 deg. Another thing, which is pretty sad, is panels that are ground mounted at a low angle with accumulated snow on them. I am sure that all the weight stresses the panels and probably cracks the glass, which is a no-no.

South West facing here can help power air conditioners and grid in the summer evening since the sun is south for some days.  It is now slightly (10 deg) north right now a month after the low spot.  The local grid limits greed feed to 6 kw.  The panels I have are rated at Heavy snow load up to 5400 Pa and wind load up to 3600 Pa.  5400 Pa is 0.78 psi or about 730 mm (2.4 ft) of wet snow and 9 meter of fresh snow according to an online snow load calculator at omni calculator.
 
2021-01-20 10:14:52 PM  

QFarker: That's $1 per watt, just for the panels.  The used panels I am looking at are 38 cents per watt (and I've even found them cheaper than that).  Even after install they will cost less than 50 cents per watt, so half of what HD charges just for panels.


Local prices for new panles here are Canadian solar .44 -> .53, Q cells .63, LG .88 -> 1.16, Seraphim .48.  That is in AUD so that ranges from US$0.37 to 0.90 /watt.  That is without sales tax and electrician price at a large electrical supplier.
 
2021-01-21 12:38:48 AM  

2fardownthread: Maybe nobody cares, but NREL has reported that perovskite solar cells have reached the level of efficiency provided by silicon cells. That is a big deal. It is already a past-tense achievement.

The implications are that the base material for PV cells will become much cheaper and give some diversity in applications, etc. It will take some time for them to replace silicon cells because the manufacturing infrastructure is geared to producing the silicon cells. If all the capital being tied up in GPUs to mine Bitcoin and in batteries for EVs were applied to developing solar PV, we could do a better job of replacing fossil fuels by replacing coal and gas burning power plants with PV.

Making solar PV cheaper and better benefits the whole world, not just rich people in rich countries.


I'd like to add the the NREL site has tons of utility. Install their program then download real insolation data for your area, enter in type of panels and orientation then you can model effective production throughout the year. I use it in designing PV powered buoys.

My trick is to size the battery bank to power the load for a minimum of 25 days with no PV input. This never occurs, even in the shiattiest winter duldrums. Then in an excel worksheet I enter measured values of the instrument loads and PV power minus all inefficiencies to determine duty cycles and maintenance times. They're all working great except for biofouling and sea lion damage. Mean, noisy bastards.
 
2021-01-21 7:27:35 AM  

DON.MAC: The grid connect inverters here and in Europe and USA have to shut down if the grid fails to prevent electrocuting workers who are fixed downed power lines.  Does your system have a battery storage?


This is the reason it doesn't seem worth it to me to bother with solar.  The cost to live off grid with either a battery backup or natural gas generator are too high.   Living on grid leaves you at the mercy of the power company for what they will pay you for electricity and when they are down you are down.  Without the government hand out it takes forever to break even.

We just got a new roof, so the time to get it would be now.  When I crunch the numbers, my best case is to break even in 9 years.
 
2021-01-21 3:41:01 PM  
I used to sell solar door to door. Our company was different than most, paying to install the panels on your roof then selling you the electricity over the next 25 years. There were a couple dozen other companies, very pushy trying to sell panels, so most of the pushback I got was due to their tactics.

A typical home brought me $3-400 commission, but i got one huge home for $1200. You can smile getting a lot of doors slammed in your face when you know one big YES is waiting behind the nextish door.
 
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