James Elston

James Elston

Published June 5, 2024

Yes, second-hand solar panels are definitely worth it if you want to enjoy the many advantages that come with solar power without breaking the bank.

Well over 1 million property owners in the UK have installed solar panels in an effort to reduce their energy bills, minimise their carbon footprint, and live more sustainably. The benefits of solar panels are plentiful, even in the UK where we don’t experience the sunniest weather.

However, if you’ve ever researched the price of brand-new panels and solar installations, you’ll know that the costs involved can be a deterring factor. So could second-hand solar panels be the solution you’re looking for? They can certainly help lower initial costs and make solar arrays more accessible to the general public.

In this article, we discuss some of the pros and cons that come with purchasing second-hand solar panels and shed some light on the benefits of refurbished solar panels.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Buying Used Solar Panels?

When you decide to invest in second-hand solar panels, you can look forward to two main benefits:


The main advantage of purchasing used solar panels over new solar panels is the minimised upfront cost. The initial cost of a brand-new solar panel installation is typically around £5,000 and £13,000 for a 3.5-4 kW system. It usually takes around a decade to reach the break-even point.

While the costs of used solar panels may vary, you can expect to pay half of what you would if you were buying new panels. Overall, you’re more likely to get a better return on your investment and there is always the chance you come across a really good deal.


In addition to the financial benefits, purchasing second-hand solar panels helps keep this technology out of landfills. There needs to be a second-hand market for solar panels in order for solar energy to remain sustainable. If everyone simply threw away their used solar panels, there would be a major problem in terms of tech waste.

What Are Some of the Drawbacks of Buying Used Solar Panels?

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of when it comes to purchasing second-hand solar panels, such as:

  • Outdated technology
  • The lifespan will be shorter than new solar panels
  • Might be damaged due to negligence by the original owner
  • Lower power output
  • May require more maintenance than new solar panels
  • The manufacturer’s warranty may no longer be valid
  • Insurance coverage issues

When you consider these points, you may conclude that second-hand solar panels are a risky investment. However, there are a few ways to mitigate the risks and ensure you make a worthwhile purchase!

What Should I Look Out for When Buying Used Solar Panels?

Keep in mind that not all used solar panels are equal. Some are in better shape than others, so it’s essential that you properly inspect each solar panel before you make a purchase.

  1. Look for any visible damage on the panels. This damage may just be cosmetic; however, micro-cracks and scratches could be indicators that the solar panel may not be as efficient as you need it to be.
  2. Test to see if the used solar panel is working properly. All you need is a multimeter tool. Simply place the solar panel in a sunny spot, angle it toward the sun, and attach the multimeter. Now you can see the power output the panel is producing.
  3. Before you seal the deal, you should also check the casing to make sure it is still waterproof and in good condition. Check around the edges for any damages and remember that any water or condensation within the case could be an issue. 
  4. Don’t forget to check cables and connectors.

When buying second-hand panels, take the same sort of precautions you would when buying a used car. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and look at various options before making your decision.

What About Refurbished Solar Panels?

Refurbished solar panels are used solar panels that have been restored by a refurbishing or manufacturing company. These panels would have been tested for potential faults and any worn-out parts would have been replaced, thus extending their expected lifespans.

Refurbished panels are a great idea for those who can’t afford a brand-new solar panel system but are concerned about buying used panels. You’ll enjoy a combination of low prices and better peace of mind, so it’s well worth looking into refurbished solar panel options in your area.

Second-Hand Solar Panels vs New Solar Panels: Which is the Better Choice?

Whether second-hand panels or new panels are the better choice for you will depend on a variety of factors. Obviously, second-hand panels offer a much lower upfront cost but new systems will last longer and are made using new technology. Here are a few other factors to consider:

  • The panel type you’re looking for
  • How many panels you need
  • Your budget
  • The variety of second-hand panels currently available
  • How much energy your household uses

Always consider your specific needs when investing in solar panels. What works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

Type of Solar PanelPros Cons
UsedAffordable, sustainableOld technology, lower life expectancy, may be damaged
NewNew technology, long life expectancy, work perfectlyVery costly


Can I get other second-hand solar equipment?

Yes, you can buy other used equipment that’s necessary for solar installations, such as batteries and inverters. However, these devices are not as easy to test as solar panels. You don’t want to buy inverters or batteries that are more than 5 years old and you should check battery voltage before making a purchase.

Can I install second-hand solar panels on my own?

Home installation of solar panels is legal in the UK, but it may not always be the best idea. If you don’t have any experience with installing solar panels, you may end up damaging the solar equipment or injuring yourself. It is far better to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with getting a qualified electrician or solar panel expert to handle the installation.

Where can I find second-hand solar panels in the UK?

There are plenty of second-hand online marketplaces in the UK. You may find used solar panels on Gumtree, eBay, or even Facebook groups. Just remember to check out the local seller’s history, how long they have been on the platform, and if they have any reviews. Always meet up with sellers in public places to protect your own safety.

Is solar power worth it?

Yes, in the long run, solar power is definitely worth it. Over time, you will break even with reduced energy bills and you can also sell any excess energy back to the national grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme.

Who buys second-hand solar panels?

Second-hand solar panels are bought by commercial and residential property owners as well as by solar farms. Solar farms are probably the biggest consumers of second-hand solar panels as they aren’t too worried about the panels being in perfect condition.


Brand-new solar panel systems can be very expensive. If you are looking for a way to minimise your solar installation costs, opting for used solar panels may be a good option for you. Just make sure you do your due diligence by testing the used panels before you pay for them. The last thing you want is to be stuck with solar panels that are damaged or no longer work!

If you are battling to find second-hand solar panels in good condition, it may be better to go for a new system. While new solar cells are significantly more costly, you can expect your system to last for many years to come and operate without issue.

Do you have any questions about solar installations in the UK? Feel free to get in touch with the experienced team at Eco Happy – our solar panel experts are here to provide professional advice and guidance. Over the years, we have helped thousands of property owners make the switch to renewable energy and reduce their electricity bills.

James Elston

James Elston

Boiler Expert

James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

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