Solar product exchange EnergyBin has released its first “PV Module Price Index for the Secondary Solar Market” report. This is likely the first look at the pricing of crystalline-silicon modules at a wholesale level, outside traditional distribution channels.
As a B2B wholesale solar equipment exchange with over 500+ member companies, EnergyBin facilitates the connection of solar companies looking to buy and sell PV equipment. Although transactions do not take place on the EnergyBin platform, sales listings documented a total of 2.1 million modules (or 746 MW) posted to the site from the past two years. EnergyBin compiled the price index using its sales listings of modules posted, comparing 2020 to 2021.
“This data serves an important role in the growth of solar. We very much believe that a necessary component to solar becoming mainstream is for the industry to have a robust and vibrant secondary market,” says Renee Kuehl, Director of Sales & Marketing at EnergyBin. “The PV module price index presented by EnergyBin indicates the health of the secondary solar market and provides a needed resource in understanding the availability of modules with a range of technology classes, in various conditions (primarily new) that are not only affordably priced, relative to global prices, but in many cases are offered below market value.”
Although prices on the EnergyBin exchange for all c-Si module classes (except low-cost and used) increased in 2021, the percentage change from January 2020 to December 2021 was comparable to or lower than national average trends. Other than all-black modules, which saw a 25.3% increase, prices in each module class didn’t change beyond what may be expected from year to year. In the high-efficiency and low-cost classes, December 2021 prices decreased by 5% from January 2020 prices. The report also found that some prices paced below global averages. High-efficiency (340 W and higher) and mainstream (between 275 and 335 W) modules listed as low as $0.24/watt and $0.25/watt, respectively.
“Letting equipment pile up in warehouses or even recycling it when there is life left is counter-productive to the mission of solar itself; beyond that, there is real business opportunity here. Equipment savings, lowering soft costs, and fulfilling maintenance needs, to name a few, are all upshots of a secondary market,” Kuehl says.
The modules reported in the price index are available via a wide variety of circumstances, again, proving the need for a strong secondary market. Excess inventory from projects completed, inventory from canceled projects, and clearance efforts by companies wishing to free up storage space are common scenarios. EnergyBin provides the platform to move that equipment.
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There is a trend of secondary or used solar PV panels being repurposed in community solar PV projects. A lot of the community projects are low interest loans or grants from other government entities from the DOE down to the local utility energy efficiency programs. At around $0.24/watt up to around $0.62/watt gives these projects more bang for the buck and as mentioned smaller solar PV companies can find direct replacement for older damaged panels on older string wired arrays.