Alternative energy equipment can be very expensive and is often a deterrent for people who wish to live off the grid or with a grid tie in system. Recently, I discovered much of this equipment is available at online auctions, such as Ebay. You can find solar panels, inverters, wind turbine blades and plans galore.
For example, our 4000 watt inverter retails for $2200, but on Ebay it sells for $1500 new, in the box. Of course there are some risks with purchasing expensive equipment from online auctions, as it is important to read the feedback comments of the sellers and find out what kind of warrantly and return policy they offer.
In addition, you may find used equipment. Some alternative energy equipment is fine to purchase used, but other items, such as batteries, would not be advised. There is no telling how long the batteries have been used and abused, and their life on an alternative system is only about 10 years when treated right. Purchasing used solar panels can save lots of money. We purchased six panels that were only used to power an outdoor concert one year.
Alternative energy equipment is expensive; however, the initial investment does pay off over time. A little discount can go a long way in setting up your system, so search for gently used products and discounts from online auction sites. You may just be able to afford that system you’ve been dreaming about.
Unregistered User says
Jennifer makes a good point – renewable energy systems can be a bit pricey. However I strongly advise against buying used equipment or equipment from a retailer like Ebay unless you are a professional renewable system installer and know exactly what you need and how to use it. The money you save will not be worth the headaches or potential loss of much more money if the equipment doesn’t work and you’re stuck with it.
If you are new to renewable energy systems PLEASE buy your equipment from a reputable dealer. You may pay a little more, but you will have full warranty protection, assistance in choosing the right products, customer support and in some cases you can return the items if they turn out to be not just what you needed.
I also strongly suggest that you educate yourself before buying. For example, it’s great that you want to run your home off a wind turbine – but if your site isn’t windy enough (or too windy!) you will have wasted lots of cash, may not be able to sell the turbine, AND still not be using renewable energy!
Given the importance of jumping on the renewable energy bandwagon these days, I applaud any effort to take that first step to energy independence! You are doing a great service to yourself and the planet. But as in all things, buyer beware.
Solar Panel Lover says
The other thing to take into account is that some online retailers also provide technical support services (some don’t just like ebay retailers) to help you install the solar or wind energy system yourself. Unless you have the utmost confidence and the extra time – it’s worth finding these things out before purchasing.