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How To: Cheap or Free Solar Panels

Once you’ve secured a source, it’s time to figure out if they’re worth your time and money. Buy or borrow a multimeter that can measure amps and watts. This will tell you if the solar panel can produce electricity in the sun, or if it’s beyond repair. It should have (+) and (-) contact points, like a big battery, on the sides. Set it in the sun and hook up the multimeter to see if it makes a charge. Even the oldest, brownest, most poorly solar panels can still generate energy. No one knows how long solar panels last and they have no moving parts. That means they’re also relatively easy to repair, if you’re the DIY type.

If you’re not up for that much time and effort, just take the most-intact solar panels and pat yourself on the back for finding a great deal. Even if you paid for them, you’ve just saved hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Well done!

So now what? You can lean them against your house if you want, but you might want to put them on the roof. You can to hire someone else to do it, but just in case here are a few DIY links:

As an alternative to all of this, or in combination with it, you may even want to go all out and build your own solar panels — another story for another day.

Of course, if these ideas sound particularly onerous, you can always check out an online solar calculator from Cost of Solar to get a quick idea of how much you could save, and to get a free consultation with a qualified solar professional.

More about Used Solar Panels:

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Written By

is an environmentalist who loves to write. She grew up across the southeastern USA and especially love the Appalachian mountains. She went to school in the northeast USA in part to witness different mindsets and lifestyles than those of my southern stomping grounds. She majored in English Lit. and Anthropology. She has worked as a whitewater rafting guide, which introduced her to a wilderness and the complex issues at play in the places where relatively few people go. She also taught English in South Korea for a year, which taught her to take nothing for granted.


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