It is getting much easier all the time to obtain used solar panels. There are dozens of merchants you can find on-line and likely retailers close to where you live.Solar panels enjoy long life spans (20-30 years) and so many used solar panels that you come across on the market usually have plenty of life left in them.When obtaining used solar panels you will many times get yourself a great deal of a price.
You will need to do a little research in regards to what things to ask and what to look for and you can find some good bargains.Call a few of the renewable energy contractors close to you to learn if they have any used solar panels to sale. Other places such as Craigslist or eBay on the net or in periodicals like Home Power, Mother Earth News or Solar Today.
Whenever looking into used solar panels always check the panel with a multimeter in the time of full sunlight. This method will show you how many watts the panel produces. Power production is going to cut down a little bit if the photovoltaic cells (PV) have been in frequent use over a period of years. Many solar panels have been in use for 12-15 years with small strength decline.Additionally you can test out used solar panels by setting your voltmeter to DC volts and measuring across the positive and the negative terminals of the panel. You should acquire 21 volts from a 12 volt panel during bright sunlight.
Determine if there are any issues including broken connections, cracked glass or condensation under the glass. Difficulties such as these can be fixed easily as well as cheaply.Damaged glass is usually replaced but keeping water from condensing inside the new glass might be hard. They can still be used with broken glass, however with reduced output. It is best to replace the glass.Burnt out diodes can easily be taken care of so if you find someone selling a panel at a really cheap price because of the diodes you should take it.
Do not worry if there are loose connections, these can easily be fixed by using an electronics solder with 2% silver or by using a conductive epoxy. Make sure you don't use acid core solders as the acid will weaken the circuit and the connections.
Some solar panels were made with a plastic substrate that turns brown after many years of continuous use. Do not worry as this does not indicate degradation. Brown panels will give the same amount of power as the other ones do.
Older panels are much larger than newer ones so if you are not concerned about size and looks then you can get a really good deal on used solar panels.
By: Jim W Carter
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