Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

I communicated with a Chinese Solar Company that was at Intersolar and they quoted me a container full of UL panels at $53K FOB usb port which is about 90 cents a watt. I don't want to buy that much obviously!

Just curious do most installers buy the panels in bulk to save money, one container could do about a dozen 5kw systems. But I imagine the inventory and storage might be problematic.

Comments

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,366 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

    When I did my original sixty panel install the installer was buying them by the container, when things slowed they got them sourced local.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

    There is a lot of hassle in importing modules by the container. By the time all is said and done, you don't save much over buying a couple pallets at a time from a good distributor who is a lot better at importing and volume sales than me, an installer. Plus, cheap modules like those you mention are not name brands, and I don't want to sell them with a 25 year warranty from a company that may well not be around that long. And, with prices continuing to fall, it is best to wait as long as possible to procure modules instead of buying in quantity and then sitting on that inventory for months. Not to mention the finance burden of fronting that much inventory. Also, different jobs need different modules sometimes (black frames, high-efficiency, american made) so you would have to get multiple containers.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

    yeah you are right there is not much point in saving 20% in costs when the panels drop in price 20% over a year. You could have a bad year and be out $$$.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?
    yeah you are right there is not much point in saving 20% in costs when the panels drop in price 20% over a year. You could have a bad year and be out $$$.
    Solar installers/integrators buy in bulk to save money when they believe that there is strong opportunity (orders on the books) to move them quickly out of their inventory. Otherwise, as you say, it's very risky and could sink a small company.
  • ElectricsuperdutyElectricsuperduty Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

    I would advise you not to deal with the Chinese. You will pay for the container before it leaves the dock and who knows what you'll get if your not standing there in China watching it get loaded and unless your as big a Walmart youll get the shaft.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

    I knew a guy that was doing well importing those Chinese tractors until the year when he had several container loads of them get stuck for months in port cause of the west coast dock strike. There is a reason for import/export businesses.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Do installers buy PV panels in bulk?

    so your point is not to buy tractors, got it!
    just kidding.
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