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Old 05-09-2016, 10:31 AM   #1
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Flexible Solar Panels?

Anyone ever use flexible solar panels? I am thinking fridge just for starters.

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Old 05-09-2016, 02:53 PM   #2
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Lots of discussion on this, search the forums.

General consensus seems to be they are more expensive and less efficient/resilient than glass panels. Personally I still went flexible but I think traditional glass panels are a likely better investment at this point.

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Old 05-14-2016, 04:27 PM   #3
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I was considering flexible panels as well. Heard lots of negative thing about them over the last year or two. I believe most manufacturers have discontinued them due to problems. I just purchased some Renogy monocrstyline panels, I would have preferred the appearance of the flexible panels but the technology is not there yet.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:07 PM   #4
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Flexable panels have been around for many years. Thousands of boaters swear by them. I used 3 for 10 years on my sailboat when I was living and cruising down island. Still have the panels. Recently checked them out for power output. All 3 are still putting out the rated amps and voltage. These panels are now over 25 years old. So take negative talk with a grain of salt like almost any discussions on the Internet.
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:02 PM   #5
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Here's some 'negative talk' from a solar professional who has had 2 years of direct comparisons between a 500 watt array of GS-100 glass panels and later, a 500 watt array of Grape Solar's flex panels.

The glass array would give me 30-35 amps into my battery bank on a regular basis and would see panel output voltages from 18-20.5VDC from an hour after the sun was up, lasting almost all day.

The flex array had dull, faded panel surfaces within 6 months of installation and I never saw more than 20-25 amps to the batteries. All other components were exactly the same in both cases.

The panel voltage output decreased over time from an initial 17-19 VDC to s maximum of 15.5VDC at noon on a crystal clear day.

In addition, the flex array never saw output voltages near maximum until almost 'solar noon' while the glass array had much higher output in marginal lighting conditions, including overcast days.

My decaying flex panels were just replaced under warranty by Grape Solar. The quandary is whether to replace the old flex array with the new array or return to the known quantity of glass panels.

I'll keep you posted with my FACTS!!!

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Old 05-14-2016, 06:30 PM   #6
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Flexible Solar Panels?

The deteriorating numbers really tell the tale.

Flex panels and cheap solar lighting both use plastic or epoxy coatings over the array elements. Full on Sunlight eats plastic and epoxy quickly.

I'm not convinced flexible solar cell technology is there yet....especially out here in SoCal where the sun is intense all year round.

Admittedly glass panels are heavy, and subject to breakage, but they do seem to last longer.

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Old 05-14-2016, 07:10 PM   #7
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I had one from Renogy and it failed. They gave me a refund and I got a regular kind. In the 6 months I owned it, the flex panel really aged looks-wise and it was easy to scratch and mar. My advice is that although they are light and easy to set up, they are not worth the expense as they do not hold up. I replaced it with a 100 watt suitcase.
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Old 05-14-2016, 08:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
I had one from Renogy and it failed. They gave me a refund and I got a regular kind. In the 6 months I owned it, the flex panel really aged looks-wise and it was easy to scratch and mar. My advice is that although they are light and easy to set up, they are not worth the expense as they do not hold up. I replaced it with a 100 watt suitcase.
I had 3 100 Renogy panels and they were working as promised until this year. No problems with surface but 2 of them just quit. The 3rd was still putting out 18.7 V and 5.8amps at noon sun up here in BC in early May.
Renogy had had a problem that they admitted to and gave me a full refund after almost 3 years even on the working panel,
so I am impressed enough to wait for their next panel.
Personally I too want the flex panels and believe their time will come.
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Old 05-14-2016, 08:46 PM   #9
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My 2+ year old flex panels are coming apart. I hose them off and they leave plastic flecks all over the roof and sides of the RV. They keep getting duller and duller. But they are still working enough to keep the batts topped up.

I have another RV that I am thinking of installing flex panels on, curved surfaces, not strong enough to support heavy panels, but the fail of the ones on my other RV is frustrating. May just buy some glass ones for that RV and put the old flex panels on the tough to install RV.


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