Are Free Solar Panels Worth it

Maswork

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I have access to free solar panels, is it worth it to build a residential system around them? Panels are manufactured by BYD (BYD300P6C-36).
 

Samsonite801

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I guess it depends on the price of your real estate (how much area you have to work with). If people have limited area where they can install panels, it can be best to get the largest watt panel for the footprint so to maximize what you can collect in smaller footprint.
 

Dzl

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Who knows.
There really isn't any information to go off of in this post.
Why are the panels being given away for free?
 

Ampster

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Do you have specs from the panels themselves? Some used panels have the labels removed when they are recalled. Recalled panels are supposed to be destroyed but some find their way into the grey market. As others have said, it may depend on your real estate and the cost of installing them. You may just be saving someone the cost of disposal and taking on that cost yourself. It depends on whether you believe there is no such thing as a free lunch.
 

Maswork

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A friend of a friend was going to build a small panel farm on his property and got a good deal on excess panels from a large job. The person who was going to build his system fell through and he didn't want to spend the money for another installer. After a year in storage he asked my friend to just haul them away.

Panels are 300 W, 35.97 V, 8.34 A. 1956x992x40 mm. They are CE, Cusa and TUV approved. Module application Class A.

I know a lot about electricity and mechanical construction but nothing in any detail about solar installation and hardware. All of the info I find about the panels seems to come from Australia.

I have plenty of roof areas, about 1800 sq.ft. and get get up to 24 panels. Some of the questions are do they meet resedential building codes and will I be able to find electrial hardware to install (like to they need special headers to connect into a system.
 

Ampster

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Some of the questions are do they meet resedential building codes and will I be able to find electrial hardware to install (like to they need special headers to connect into a system.
Building codes may not be as much an issue as any requirements of your utility for grid tie. The mounting hardware is pretty generic for most panels. Electical connections would depend on the type of inverter used. MC4 connectors are the most recent type of connector and that may be a clue as to their origin and age.
 

Maswork

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The panels all have their original name tags and barcodes on them and were never used in a system.
Data Sheet indicates they are for Roof top residential, On/off grid commercial or On/Off grid utility systems.
MC4 or MC4 compatible.
I suppose I start by contacting SDGE for what is required for connection and local city authority for requirements?
I just don't want to thousands into mechanical and electrical hardware to find there is a problem with any approvals for these specific panels.
 

sunshine_eggo

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Panels are typically a small portion of the system. "Free" panels are likely only going to save you ~20-30% of the cost of a DIY installation.
 

Maswork

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Panels are typically a small portion of the system. "Free" panels are likely only going to save you ~20-30% of the cost of a DIY installation.
I guess that is the root of the question "is it worth it" in looking for advice. Even though it may only be 20-30% in a 20 panel system that is still a chunk of money. That said, I would rather do it right the first time around. As I said earlier I do not know any thing about solar systems so I guess I just don't want to start off on the wrong foot.
 

BMcL

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If you have some land, I would avoid mounting on a roof. Ground mounting does cost more.
 

Ampster

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I guess that is the root of the question "is it worth it" in looking for advice.
I have put put solar panels on four homes in the past ten years. I drive two EVs and it was definitely worth it even though I sold two of those homes.
Check out the California Energy Commission site to make sure those panels qualify for a Grid Tie system. Then go to SDGE site and see what they offer for a Net Energy Metering benefit.

Be aware there is a proposed Sucessor Tariff to NEM 2.0 that, if approved by the CPUC in January, may affect the economics of installations after about May 2022. After that date it may be more economical to consider a behind the meter meter installation. It is a moving target and I encourage you to become informed so that you can make the best decision for your use case.
 
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