Do My Damaged or Old Solar Panels Still Have Value?

An introduction to the refurbished solar panel market.

The second-hand solar panel market has exploded in popularity in recent years.

Thousands of customers, from amateurs installing solar panels onto their RV’s to DIY doomsday preppers have become customers in search of cheap solar panels and solar equipment. 

For solar utility site managers, solar panel manufacturers, and contractors, this means that your damaged, aging and malfunctioning solar panels can continue to pay for themselves even as they’re shipped away.

Solar panel refurbishers like FabTech assess your solar panels, labeling them as either refurbishable or recyclable.

For each solar panel that’s assessed as refurbishable, you receive money back.

Solar Panel End of Life Options

When it’s time for an organization to get rid of solar panels, they have three options: Recycle, Landfill, or Refurbish.

While anyone would choose to refurbish if given the choice, it’s an unfortunate fact that thousands of fully refurbishable solar panels are recycled or landfilled before getting the chance to be assessed.  

An almost shocking percentage of old or malfunctioning solar modules are refurbishable with modern techniques.

FabTech’s highly trained technicians can replace bad diodes, repair bent frames, and diagnose malfunctioning solar units.

In most situations, the issue is not that the solar panels themselves are unsalvageable, the issue is that the owners of these solar modules believe that there’s no point in even trying to refurbish them.

Of course, they don’t have to do it themselves, but a skilled refurbishing company can do that and credit them for those good solar panels against the costs of shipping and recycling of the shattered solar panels.

One rule to remember is this: If a solar panel doesn’t have broken glass, it’s probably refurbishable!

What Happens to these Refurbished Panels? Who Wants Them?  

An Introduction to the Refurbishment Industry and Its Customers 

As stated at the beginning of this article, the second-hand market has an ever-growing demand for cheaper, second-hand solar panels.

Refurbishers like FabTech are a great source for these second-hand solar modules. 

These users differ from manufacturers and solar utility managers in several important ways.

If you’re maintaining a solar utility site, it’s in your best interest to switch out your solar panels if they’re losing efficiency, especially if space is a factor.

Thousands of solar panels losing 20% efficiency adds up to a lot of lost money.

For second-hand users, the efficiency of solar panels is far from the highest priority.

Cheap second-hand solar modules allow these users to venture into solar power with DIY home projects like installing them onto RV’s or powering an emergency backup battery bank in case of grid power failure.

If a solar panel’s life is 20-30 years long and you can get one that is just five years old, and it still has 80-85% of efficiency, and you get it for the fraction of the price of new, it’s a good option.

It’s very similar to the used car market. There is still a lot of good use left in a used car, just like there is in a used solar panel.

What Are The Panels Worth If Refurbishable?

FabTech is motivated to rate every refurbishable solar panel accurately because that is the greatest value for all concerned.

They want to find solar panels for their second-hand market customers.

Because they do all of their own repair they can give the best value to the owners.

What is that value?

It really depends case by case, and that is why it is important to contact FabTech for a proposal.

It is based upon the brand or type of solar panel, its age and its condition, and how much repair it will need.

This value is offset by the costs of shipping and recycling of the severely damaged solar units.

Most sites have their biggest expense with the freight costs to simply haul away these solar panels.

If there is value in the solar panels, it can easily offset the costs of shipping.

For example, the used solar panels could be worth anywhere from $15 to $75 each.

Let’s say you had 100 good ones valued at $50 each for a total of $5,000.

Maybe there were 100 shattered solar modules in the load as well.

Imagine, for example, the recycling costs of 100, #50 pound solar panels at $.35/pound for a total of $1,750, and the shipping costs of $2,200.

That would be $3,950 costs and $5,000 credit for a credit balance of $1,050.

In situations where you owed just a little bit, FabTech would probably offer to come and take the solar panels out for free, saving the site money, time and effort. 

In the event there were not as many refurbishables in the load, FabTech would still be able to offer a good price for what good solar panels there were, and it would offset the fairly fixed and standard costs of recycling and shipping.

It’s still a better option than simply junking the solar panels.


FabTech’s trained technicians are experts in refurbishing solar panels.

Modern techniques have allowed for the salvaging of much more of the solar units.

The second-hand DIY market has an ever-increasing appetite for cheap, relatively efficient, refurbished solar panels.

Because it’s in FabTech’s best interest to refurbish as many solar panels as possible, it’s in a solar site manager’s interest to use our services to maximize the amount they’re paid.

While some solar panels are damaged beyond repair and must be recycled through FabTech’s processes, almost all forms of damage or wear can be repaired.

The golden rule has to do with the glass. If it’s intact, it’s more than likely refurbishable!

If you have malfunctioning or aging panels, reach out to FabTech for a free quote.

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