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Wholesale solar panels: can you buy them?

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 actual wholesale solar panels from a manufacturer, but you can purchase discounted panels that were bought at wholesale prices from resellers. Just because these panels will be cheaper doesn’t mean they’re the right solution for you and your home.

What are wholesale solar panels?

Any item that is “wholesale” is one that 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.

When it comes to the solar industry, wholesale solar panels can be purchased by either distributors or by resellers (not by the end consumer). What’s the difference between a distributor and a reseller? Distributors typically have a much closer relationship to manufacturers and a well-defined dealer network of companies who they sell their equipment to. Resellers, on the other hand, may sell to installers but in addition, may 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.

Wholesale solar panels bought from resellers

There are many resellers that offer wholesale solar panels for purchase online, but buying these solar panels isn’t necessarily the best solution. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you’re shopping for either 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 who has 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 fewer savings overall if you’re not using all of the electricity the system is generating. If you’re thinking of purchasing solar panels directly, check to make sure 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 who are trying to get rid of old inventory. Solar panels will generate electricity for 25 to 30 years; if you buy older solar panels they 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’re looking to buy to make sure they’ll produce enough of electricity and that they 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 actual wholesale prices even if they’re advertised as such. 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.)

Should you purchase wholesale solar panels?

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, then buying solar panels from a reseller is going to be an easy way to get affordable equipment delivered to your home. But solar technology isn’t at the DIY stage for most people; the process of installing solar from start to finish has many steps, including designing a solar panel system, purchasing the equipment, filing for permitting, the installation itself, and all the electrical work. At the very least, homeowners thinking about DIY solar should have a significant understanding of electrical systems. That being said, even experienced electricians who can safely connect a solar panel system to their home will still spend a lot of time and effort when 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 a substantial amount of time. Your installer will handle all the labor necessary for the installation and file for any permitting required 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 with them 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).

Save money by going solar on EnergySage

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’re looking to get the best deal possible without dealing with the headache of a DIY project, sign up for competing solar quotes on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. Because of the transparent and competitive nature of the platform, homeowners often save 20 percent or more off turnkey full system installations. Installers who quote on EnergySage are also thoroughly pre-screened and vetted, so you can be sure that you’re not only getting a good deal but an experienced contractor as well. If you’d prefer to start evaluating your solar options with a quick estimate of will cost you, try our free Solar Calculator.


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