PV system showing its age

Is Solar Power going to give the UK the energy it needs for the 21st century?

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Post by Lurkalot »

And an update on my friends situation. He did eventually get a firm to look at his panels and it seems that a poor earth connection had damaged the transformer. Luckily it was still under warrenty and was replaced free of charge to my friend. Pleased with the companies work he arranged for them to fit a further half dozen panels which they did. Unfortunately during the fitting they accidently drilled through a cable and damaged the new transformer they had only just fitted. On the plus side they again replaced it quickly and of course at no cost to my friend.
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Re: PV system showing its age

Post by Mark »

Solar panels, inverters, transformers, rack systems, cables etc. eventually come to 'end-of-life'....

Recycling Solar Panels in the UK & Ireland

No personal experience, but maybe also be a source of second hand replacements ?
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Re: PV system showing its age

Post by adam2 »

Recycling of PV modules is certainly preferable to dumping in landfill, but it must be remembered that PV modules are normally very long lasting.
When a PV system is no longer required, it would be far preferable to test each module and re-use the sound ones which I would expect to be in the majority.

For a new large PV system, a complete new set of matching modules with a long warranty would almost certainly be preferable. Used but functional modules would be much appreciated for small battery charging systems either in the UK or overseas.
A new, single large module now sells for as little as 50 pence per watt.
A second hand PV module rated at 250 watts but that now only produces 200 watts would be most useful to a household or small school or health care facility in the developing world.
And even in the UK there are still remote homes lacking grid service, that would benefit from a small battery charging system for lighting. The environmental gain from such small off grid systems is significant if they are replacing oil lamps, candles, or small fossil fuels generators.

The labour cost in dismantling a large installation without breaking the modules could be considerable, but perhaps worthwhile with voluntary labour.
The other components MIGHT be worth reuse.
Grid tie inverters--------probably not, but in exceptional cases could be considered.
Battery charging controllers---------yes if working.
Cables, if buried or used indoors, then probably fit for re use, especially at extra low voltage. Cables used outdoors for decades are probably scrap.
Mounting structures and the like---------maybe.
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Re: PV system showing its age

Post by kenneal - lagger »

There was an industry call for the compulsory recycling of all computer and renewable power systems recently to avoid us being entirely dependent on China for rare earth metals in the future. Seems a sensible thing to do especially as the government seems to want to keep growth going at the expense of saving energy.
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