Used solar panels?

Nickmpower

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2014
146
0
Bay Area, California
#1
So I've been looking on craigslist and it seems you can potentially save a fortune by buying some used panels from someone who filled in their pool or a house thats being remodeled etc.

Whats the best way to tell if the panels have some life left in them? I am guessing they will be more pliable vs. hard and brittle?

When the panels are at the end of their life do they just start sprouting leaks more than is economical to repair? how long do they typically last?
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
0
Sacramento, CA
#2
Panels have a life of from 5 to 15 years depending on water chemistry and exposure. They clog and get small leaks. The best way would be to test them but that is probably not possible because they will be likely off the roof.


jblizzle one of the moderators on here I believe installed used solar so he may be able to help you more.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 19, 2010
41,197
4
Tucson, AZ
#3
Yes I did. I took a risk with no testing. I am not sure they really stiffen up either.
I got 11 4x12.5 Heliocol panels (only planned to use 10) plus controller for $600. One of the panels had a few tubes that were obviously cut, so I did not use it. After installing the 10 panels and firing up the system, I was lucky that only 3 of the 100s of tubes had small leaks that I plugged.

My install was on a very gently sloped roof. I used white roof tar to hold the brackets in place and just set the panels on the roof in the bracket. The Heliocol panels have individual tubes so they are much less affected by the wind. Due to the high heat, some of the brackets have started sliding down the roof, so I plan to get up there and add 1 bolt per bracket and a lot of tar to hold them in place.
 

Nickmpower

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2014
146
0
Bay Area, California
#10
Would the 1.5" headers be sufficient? I plan on getting a variable pump so I figure they wont be the limiting factor. But running a straight line through all 12 seems kind of weird, because of the layout of the roof it would make the most sense though.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 19, 2010
41,197
4
Tucson, AZ
#11
If that is what you can get for a good price, they will work. I would use 2" pipe to and from them.

Not sure what you mean by a straight line, they should be installed in parallel. Post up some pictures/drawings and we can help with layout suggestions.
 
Dec 11, 2013
24
0
#12
I'm looking to pick up a set of Solar City Vortex solar panels: 3 4x10 panels and 4 4x12 + punch of PVC piping off CL. They are a 3-4 years old but never been installed and guy's asking $600.
Now, I don't know whether the technology has changed since then and if the material gets weaker if left exposed to the elements, etc.
Other than panels, piping and mounting hardware do I need additional pump accelerate the flow? Any other considerations to make it a worthwhile DIY project? Thank you.



If that is what you can get for a good price, they will work. I would use 2" pipe to and from them.

Not sure what you mean by a straight line, they should be installed in parallel. Post up some pictures/drawings and we can help with layout suggestions.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 19, 2010
41,197
4
Tucson, AZ
#13
You need a VRV to prevent negative pressure in the panels when off. And Ideally a solar controller hooked up to a solar 3 way valve with actuator.

You should really have started your own thread and not hijacked this one.
 

mac4lyfe

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 8, 2007
212
0
Houston, Texas
#14
Yeah, this is a 3 year old thread.

FYI - there seems to be some real inexpensive solar panels on ebay. I just purchased a few of these for $80/each. I'm not sure the quality but will report back later.

XLong Inground Above Ground 28"x20' Solar Energy Swimming Pool Sun Heater Panel