Repurpose old solar panels on low-income houses

Darcy Hitchcock

After 20 years, solar panels will lose 10-20 percent of their capacity to generate energy. (NREL says to plan on losing 0.5% per year, so they should still produce 90 percent of the energy after 20 years. Older models might be a little less.) By then, your house will likely need a new roof so the old panels will have to come down, at least temporarily. You’ll likely want to install newer, more efficient panels. Rather than tossing the old ones, this Colorado nonprofit is installing them on low-income housing.

Since joining the Coldharbour Institute, a research nonprofit based in Gunnison, Equitable Solar Solutions has installed pre-owned solar panels on five homes, Strmberg said. It has partnered with social service organizations and state agencies, including the Colorado Energy Office’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps low-income families make energy upgrades to their homes.

“Ultimately, it’s going to provide the…

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