Solar Cells for Sale

While individual solar cells are available for purchase, in the majority of cases when we are talking about solar cells for sale we are referring to solar roof panels. Panels are simply a collection of individual cells and come in many sizes and strengths.

It can be difficult to accurately compare the cost of solar panels because often times two panels of equal size produce very different levels of power. Many factors go into the value of a panel, including the materials the individual cells are made of, the technology used to construct the panels, and the age of the panels.

Because of these differences, the best way to compare solar panel costs is by cost per watt of output. Each solar panel puts out a specific amount of wattage regardless of its age, or size, or technology. Therefore, by comparing only what the panel produces, there is a level playing field no matter how differently two given panels are constructed or how old they are. For example, let’s say you are comparing two different panels. One is comparatively large, two years old, and uses lesser technology. It puts out 50 watts of power and costs $245. Now let’s say the other panel is smaller, brand new, and uses a better quality cell than the other one. It puts out 75 watts of power and costs $375. Which are the best solar panels to buy? We simply do the math. For Panel A, 245 divided by 50 equals $4.90 per watt. For Panel B, 375 divided by 75 equals $5.00 per watt. So, even though Panel B is newer and produces more power, Panel A is actually the better deal. You would just have to make sure you had enough space to go with the bigger  panel(s).

One more important thing to keep in mind here is how the wattage of a given panel is measured. Unfortunately, one “50-watt”  panel may not actually be equivalent to another “50-watt” panel. This is because two different rating systems are commonly used to determine the wattage of solar panels and you must be sure you are comparing apples to apples when making comparisons.

Most manufacturers use the STC rating system, while reviewers and informed shoppers prefer to use what is called the PTC rating. The PTC rating will be lower than the STC, and better reflect the actual efficiency of the panel. Just make sure the ratings you are comparing are the same, preferably PTC. Since efficiency is also related to cost you can read more about the differences between STC and PTC in solar panel efficiency.


It is relatively easy to buy solar equipment using E-bay. They have a wide assortment of products available from many different sellers. As above, the important thing to remember when comparison shopping is to compare using the same rating system on a cost per watt basis.

Since buying solar panels usually involves more than a very small amount of money, on E-bay something else to be aware of is the seller’s rating. It might be unwise to buy from a seller with a rating of less than 100.

Look for sellers who are more established with higher ratings with no (or very little) negative feedback. Another statistic to look at is the feedback of the buyer. It should reflect at or very near 100% satisfaction. Once in a while there is a problem that is not the seller’s fault so 100% isn’t required, it should just be very close.

Finally, feel free and do ask questions of the seller. Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t understand everything there is to know yet. If they are selling a good product at a fair price, then they should WANT you to understand everything, and should be happy to help you.

Bulk Sales

As with most goods, there are usually cost efficiencies that can be achieved by buying solar panels in bulk. The standard bulk unit for solar panels is the pallet.

The trick with pallets is that one company’s pallet may likely be nothing like another’s. Even though you might think there would be a standard size there really isn’t. Therefore, when comparing purchases by the pallet from different sellers you must be sure what
each company’s pallet holds. Or, even more simply, just compare how many watts each pallet represents or the overall price per watt for a given pallet or shipment. That way we are back on an even playing field like we were when comparing individual solar
panels above.

Cheap Cells

If you are in the market for cheap solar panels and on a very tight budget, there are several things to consider. One is knowing that right now the cheapest solar cells for the money are being manufactured in China. This is mainly due to the labor costs being very inexpensive there. While true today, this may change, though, as new technologies are developed. For now it is just something to keep in mind.

Another choice would be to look into the used solar cell market. As we saw from the example above, it is possible to find older solar cells which are actually more cost-efficient than newer ones. If exploring this option just take into account that solar panels right now have an average life span of about 20-25 years. With some technologies it is more, but it is a factor to consider when comparing new and used panels.

A third option for discounts would be to buy straight from the manufacturer. It is not always possible, but very possibly worth a try. Finally, to save money you can always build your own solar panel. You can either start from scratch or look into the scrap market.

During manufacturing, certain solar cells/panels are invariably damaged and are then sold for deep discounts. It is not that difficult to take several of these partial panels and solder them together. You could then have a perfectly usable solar panel for a fraction of the price.