Wholesale solar panels: Can you buy them?

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wholesale solar panels

If you're shopping for something wholesale, you're probably doing so to save money. And when it comes to purchasing a solar panel system, you want to save as much money as possible.

So, can you buy wholesale solar panels? Yes and no - you won't be able to purchase wholesale solar panels from a manufacturer, but you can buy discounted panels from resellers at wholesale prices. Just because these panels will be cheaper doesn't mean they're the right solution for you and your home.

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Any " wholesale " item was purchased directly from the manufacturer by an individual or company who isn't the end consumer. These purchases often occur in bulk. Because of the high quantity of items purchased in a wholesale transaction and because they are bought directly from the manufacturer, wholesale goods are often associated with lower prices than purchasing goods at retail value.

In the solar industry, wholesale solar panels can be purchased by distributors or resellers (not by the end consumer). What's the difference between a distributor and a reseller? Distributors typically have a closer relationship with manufacturers and a well-defined dealer network of companies they sell their equipment to. On the other hand, resellers may sell to installers but also sell equipment directly to consumers looking to go solar. If you bought your solar equipment from a local installation company, they most likely purchased it from a distributor. If you bought your equipment directly from a website, this is likely from a reseller.

Many resellers offer wholesale solar panels for purchase online, but buying these solar panels isn't necessarily the best solution. Here are some factors to remember while shopping for individual solar panels or solar panel kits online.

Wholesale resellers often sell in bulk

First, many resellers offering wholesale panels only sell them in large quantities. This may work for a solar installation company with many residential or commercial installations lined up, but if you're installing a solar panel system for your home, you likely don't need a whole shipping container worth of panels to cover your electricity bill. An oversized solar panel system will be more expensive upfront and lead to less overall savings if you're not using all of the electricity the system generates. If you're considering purchasing solar panels directly, ensure that the total price you're being offered is for the correct number of panels and that the minimum purchase amount isn't more than you need.

Wholesale solar panels may be outdated

If you're seeing a list price for solar panels online that's substantially lower than everything else, it's a good idea to ask yourself why. Resellers can purchase top-of-the-line equipment, but they also buy discontinued panels from manufacturers trying to get rid of old inventory. Solar panels will generate electricity for 25 to 30 years; older solar panels should still work, but they may be less efficient and produce lower amounts of electricity than newer models from the same manufacturer. It's a good idea to look up spec sheets for the panel model you want to buy to ensure they'll produce enough electricity and come with typical warranty offerings. EnergySage also has an independent rating system for solar panels to help you compare the quality of one panel to another.

Wholesale solar panels don't always mean cheap

There are many websites where you can buy solar panels or complete solar panel kits online, but they may not be wholesale prices even if advertised. Many companies are guilty of synonymizing "wholesale" with "discount" or "cheap." But, if you're buying solar panels from anyone other than the manufacturer directly (which doesn't exist in the solar industry), then the item will include a markup from the reseller so that they can make a profit.

That doesn't mean that these panels aren't a good deal. If you're buying equipment directly rather than as a part of your installation package, it is likely at a lower price. But cheaper doesn't always mean better, and there are many benefits to getting a turnkey solar solution from a single installation company (even if it's a bit more expensive.)

It can be tempting to purchase solar panels for sale at low prices, but it's not the best solution for most homeowners.

If you're working on a DIY solar project, buying solar panels from a reseller will be an easy way to deliver affordable equipment to your home. But solar technology isn't at the DIY stage for most people; installing solar from start to finish involves many steps, including designing a solar panel system, purchasing the equipment, filing for permitting, installing it, and all the electrical work. At the very least, homeowners thinking about DIY solar should understand electrical systems. That said, even experienced electricians who can safely connect a solar panel system to their home will still spend a lot of time and effort safely installing their DIY system.

Even though it may be the more expensive option up front, working with a solar installer for your project can save you substantial time. Your installer will handle all the labor needed for the installation and file for any required permit with your local jurisdiction. They'll also work with your utility company to get your solar panel system up and running on an efficient timeline. Another benefit of working with a solar installer is that they'll assist with obtaining any local incentives you're eligible for. Local incentives such as tax credits, rebates, or performance-based incentives can go a long way in decreasing your cost of solar. For DIY a solar panel system, you may not be eligible for some local incentives as many state-funded incentive programs require licensed contractors to perform the installation.

Solar installers also bring years of experience, which will be invaluable. Working with a reputable solar company will decrease the likelihood of damage to your roof or a faulty solar panel system (both of which would be covered under their workmanship warranty).

Buying wholesale solar panels might save a few DIY-savvy homeowners some money, but there are other ways to cut your costs on a solar panel system! If you want the best deal possible without dealing with the headache of a DIY project, sign up for competing solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace.

Because of the transparent and competitive nature of the platform, homeowners often save 20% or more on turnkey full system installations. Installers who quote on EnergySage are also thoroughly pre-screened and vetted, so you can be sure you're getting a good deal and an experienced contractor. If you'd prefer to start evaluating your solar options with a quick estimate of what it will cost you, try our free Solar Calculator.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
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