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.
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