The eBay Of Secondhand Solar Components Coming To US

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In what appears to be a sign of the maturing solar PV market, an online marketplace for used and second-quality solar components will soon be open in the US, following the success of its model in Europe.

SecondSol, headquartered in Germany, is looking to launch its US platform under the name Solarodo (said to be named after its US headquarters location, Colorado, but the spelling is a bit of a kludge) this year, where buyers and sellers of solar PV components — ranging from solar modules to inverters to racking — can come together to strike a deal. According to CEO Frank Fiedler, SecondSol currently lists some 45,000 solar modules of many different brands and configurations across three warehouses, and the business is said to handle more than 50 transactions each day, which allows these used and/or repaired solar components a second life instead of being headed to a PV recycling center.

“SecondSol is a marketplace for buying and selling photovoltaic products. Besides photovoltaic modules, inverters, energy storage systems, assembly systems, wiring and connectors, special tools and measuring devices as well as other PV accessories can be found among the products offered. Sellers can market their goods all over the world via SecondSol. The supply of parts for millions of PV systems should thus be catered for over the entire service life. The service is geared to commercial retailers, to private customers, manufacturers and insurance companies.”

One strong point of this ‘eBay of solar components’ is its detailed cataloging and search functions, which makes it fairly straightforward to find a replacement component with the same, or similar enough, specifications, ranging from the physical size to the voltage and current of a solar module or its compatibility with the rest of the PV system. While most, if not all, financed solar arrays are meant to be built with all new equipment, complete with warranties, replacing a single damaged module or a string of modules in a system not under warranty could be possible at a lower cost than with a brand new one, and could help owners of older systems more easily find compatible replacement components.

In addition to helping facilitate the buying and selling of secondhand solar PV components, SecondSol and Solarodo also help to crack down on the sellers of stolen solar modules, thanks to a product that SecondSol developed a few years ago called PV Theft (PV-Diebstahl). This is a sticker-like product that can be applied to new solar equipment, which allows users to register their components’ serial numbers with an online database, and the stickers themselves, when removed, leave a scannable QR code that enables a stolen component to be identified as such.

A beta version of the US marketplace, Solarodo, is currently online, and according to William P. Hirshman of PV and Me, will soon start being promoted by the company.

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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4 thoughts on “The eBay Of Secondhand Solar Components Coming To US

  • Great idea. Maybe this business model is applicable to other products. You don’t have to sort through all the e-bay crap to find what you are looking for in regards to solar products and components.

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  • This would be great, except some sellers charge so much to ship used solar panels that it makes more sense to buy new panels locally then purchase used panels on line and pay an insane amount of shipping. I won’t buy used for more then half the cost of new.

    • I’ve been shopping for new panels. I need about five 320 watt panels to fill up a space on my roof.

      I’m finding it cheaper to purchase from a dealer within driving distance than to buy at the best price I can find and pay for shipping. Dealers can order by the pallet and get much better shipping rates.

      I’m actually planning a mini-vacation to the Sierras and picking up my panels on the return trip.

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