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Old 01-07-2014, 09:26 AM   #1
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Flexible panels?

Hi!

I'm looking at different solar options and would love to get these flexible sticker panels. Has anyone used something like them?

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Old 01-07-2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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Hoping someone replies to this..I would like to know more about this also.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:22 AM   #3
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I don't know them, it seem expansive/w and 3 times the size in square feet.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:47 AM   #4
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Way overpriced for the power produced, in addition to being very large (again for the power produced). The two 100 watt panels I put on my FC 20 were $160 each and the high quality MPPT charge controller was about $200, for a total cost less than the little 42 watt unit shown in the original post.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:16 AM   #5
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I have a vague recollection of flexible solar panels being installed similar to these by folks some time back. I think those were from a different company since gone bankrupt. Search the forums. As I recall, folks with those panels seemed happy with the low wattage and high space need requirement for the trade off of ease of installation. There was some debate about inability to later peel off.

The panels for sale in your web link do seem to be quite expensive for what you get. In my opinion 200 watts is the minimum to make adding solar a worthwhile project.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:10 PM   #6
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a lot of this stuff is pricey, but you can try to buy direct from China and skip the middle man. alibaba.com is a middleman site to allow you to skip multiple middle men. You can sometimes buy in smaller quantities. If you search for peel and stick solar panel, you'll get some results. Keep in mind, you'll get almost no customer service, and you'll have to wait months to see it, but by far the cheapest option. I've thought about it myself to get enough to cover the top, I just don't camp enough to justify it.

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Old 01-07-2014, 12:34 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone! Maybe I'll find a better deal. I just like the idea of having them so flush with the structure. If you come across the older posts please share! I'd love to read what people thought of them first hand
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:16 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! Maybe I'll find a better deal. I just like the idea of having them so flush with the structure. If you come across the older posts please share! I'd love to read what people thought of them first hand
Hey... and if you lay them over a rivet line, it's a way of stopping leaks!

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Old 01-07-2014, 02:39 PM   #9
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Hi!

I'm looking at different solar options and would love to get these flexible sticker panels. Has anyone used something like them?

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Flexible panels use a different technology than the rigid panels. Rigid panels generate about twice the watts per square foot compared to flexible panels. However, flexible panels perform better in low-light conditions, so they're more beneficial at high lattitudes where you don't get as much direct sun.

In both cases, you can expect that you'll get about 60% of the solar panel's rated wattage as usable energy over the course of a day; the rest will be lost as heat, power for the charge controller, etc. For a 50-watt panel, you'll average 30 watt-hours per hour of daylight.
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:47 PM   #10
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I installed an 80 watt flexible solar panel about 2 1/2 years ago. I have been happy with it. It does charge even in low light. You can walk on it without damaging it. I believe the brand was called Solar Flex. It was fairly easy to install.
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:29 PM   #11
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Cool thanks! Yea, I was thinking about the leak protection...
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:47 PM   #12
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Due to several requests I have had on this specific topic, I'll throw my hat into the ring….so to speak….on the relative merits (or not) of flex panels.

From what has been mentioned above, they do not approach the efficiency of the rigid mono-crystalline units currently available (over 18%). There are also several operating characteristics that no one has yet mentioned, but I will.

• HEAT…is the enemy of efficiency in any solar panel. This is the reason that properly installed solar panels have sufficient open space below them and the mounting substrate (roof in the case of Airstreams) to allow for air circulation and cooling.

Flex panels, mounted flat to the roof (curved roof for Airstreams) and generally bonded to the roof, do not provide any relief for internal heating and will exhibit dramatic efficiency losses due to overheating.

•*SUN ANGLE…. rigid panels, when combined with properly designed mounting feet that allow the panels to tilt (AM Solar's Rocker Mounting Feet and tilt bars) can capture much more solar energy than flat mounted panels. I recently demonstrated this to a client while showing them the benefits of panel tilting.

In full sun and using a special solar meter, I showed the client the watts/square meter available when the meter's surface was parallel to the ground. the measurement was 510 W/sq.M When the meter surface was tilted perpendicular to the sun, the meter showed 1026 W/sq.M……….over double!! This translated into a very large increase in charging amperage from the solar controller to the batteries.

Flex panels can not be tilted.

• DEFORMATION….. I have observed several different flex panel installations that were actually cupped (individual cells) from excessive heat. This created concave surfaces on the face of the panel that would catch moisture in the early AM. When the dew evaporated, it would leave dirt on the panel surface. Rigid panels do not collect as much dirt and debris and are easier to clean. A clean panel surface is a happy panel!

••• CONCLUSION….. Will flex panels work…..sure. Will they work well, or as well as rigid panels…..NO! The system you choose should be designed for maximum efficiency and minimum loss, both in PV solar capacity and voltage drop. Flex panels just are not in the same ballpark (yet) as rigid PV panels.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:00 PM   #13
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Lew thanks for your explanation. Now I have to ask how do you adjust the angle of the panel while it's atop the airstream? From inside the trailer or is there some niffy rod or crank used from the ground? Thanks again,
Barry
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:07 PM   #14
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I have two factory panels on our trailer. They are good for keeping power for a while. However they won't keep up with my energy consumption. If I wanted a serious camping solar system, it would not be on the trailer roof. It would be a bunch of panels that set up quickly on a collapsible rack. The rack would include the ability to easily rotate horizontally and adjust the vertical angle of the panels. In my opinion having the panels on the roof is convenient for short period needs. However, it is really nice to park in as much shade as possible for other obvious reasons, so an array that you can place away from the trailer in the sun is going to be more efficient.

The negatives of the flexible panels are well covered above. As with many other things, it is best to stick with the tried and true and let others do the beta testing.

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