Top 6 Best Flexible Solar Panels 2020 – Reviews and Advice
Looking for the best flexible solar panels for your next hiking expedition? Then you have come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at the top products available in the market and a buying guide that helps you make the right choice.
Are Flexible Solar Panels Good?
Many wonder if there are any good to flexible solar panels and why they should bother with it at all.
Yes, Flexible Solar Panels are good and even better that the conventional solar panels. It has the ability to fit many types of solar projects, also, it can be mounted on rooftops that can’t bear much weight as they are lightweight.
Furthermore, they can fit into almost any type of surface due to their flexibiliy; from boats, cabins to carports and other less conventional areas. Financially, the best flexible solar panels cost less than the normal solar panels, it also saves you the cost of installation as you can install the panel by yourself without contacting an expert.
Although there are some disvantages to the flexible solar panel one of them being that it is less efficient than the classic panels with an efficiency rate of between 7% to 13% as against 16% to 20% obtainable with classic panels.
In spite of these minor setbacks, if you are looking for a solar panel that will last for a long time, lightweight and flexible then the flexible solar panel will do just fine. They are ideal for smaller mobile solar panels which requires less energy.
How to Select the Best Flexible Solar Panels?
There are many flexible solar panels with the same claim of being the best. Hence, making the best decision can be such a headache, but when you are aware of what to look out for, making a choice becomes much easier and not so dreadful. Consider the following factors before making a buying choice:
Size and Weight of the Solar Panel
This is an essential factor to consider before buying a solar panel. If you intend using your panel in a smaller space, then you may want to purchase a solar panel that is smaller and also lightweight. On the other hand, if you intend using it in a larger space, the size may not matter much. However, the choice of a smaller solar panel makes it easy to transport and install.
The main aim of buying a solar panel in the first place is to obtain light; it is therefore essential to look out for solar panels with a high power outage. A panel with lower watts means there will be less power output and you may need to connect several panels to get the desired power output that is sufficient for you, while a solar panel with high watt means the energy output will be high and hence will serve your needs better.
If you are on the lookout for a flexible solar panel, then you shouldn't go for less than the best. However, the level of flexibility of solar panels differs from one solar panel to the other. The best way to judge how flexible a solar panel is is by measuring the degree, or how far it can bend without the fear of the panel breaking. This feature is essential, especially if you are going to be mounting your solar panel on curved, irregular surfaces.
As the solar panel is mostly used outdoors where it is exposed to rain, dust, and sunlight, you should go for a panel that is resistant to adverse weather conditions as this will make it last longer. To enable your solar panel last a long time, it is essential also to consider the material used in constructing these solar panels and ensure that the quality corresponds to the durability to get value for your money.
This refers to how fast the solar panel can convert energy absorbed from sunlight into energy that can be used. This is usually within a range of 11% to 21%. The higher the percentage of conversion, the faster you can get to use the energy tapped from the sun. Hence, the need to purchase a solar panel with high cell efficiency is essential if you wish to have quick and effective energy.
Ease of Installation
This may seem an insignificant factor but its equally important, especially if you are not familiar with how to install a solar panel. Purchasing a solar panel that is simple and easy to install will save you a lot of stress and will not consume so much of your time.
It is equally important to look out for additional accessories that come with your solar panel. You may purchase one with a short cord; in that case, you will need to buy an extension as the cord is not long enough. Check too if your solar panel comes with an assembly tool, if it doesn't then you will need to buy one. Check if there are other additional accessories you will need to purchase, this will ensure you enjoy the use of your solar panel better.
This refers to partial security you get on the investment of any product. It should be noted that flexible solar panels do not have a lifetime warranty on their products, unlike most conventional solar panels. For flexible solar panels, most manufacturers only offer about one to a two-year warranty, thereby leaving their customers vulnerable. In spite of this, you can always find flexible solar panels that provide as much as a five-year warranty on their products.
Top 6 Flexible Solar Panels Review 2019
Flexible solar panels are unique in that they can be folded and carried about and yet provide steady power supply on the go. They are unlike the regular kind of solar panel which is rigid and cannot be moved. Recognizing that different products exist in the open market and that making a choice can be daunting, we took our time to search for the 6 best flexible solar panels available. They include:
1. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Thinking of going for a boat cruise? Then go along with the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel. This extremely lightweight (70% lighter than a conventional solar panel) ultra-thin, flexible solar panel which features up to 248 Degree Arc for RV and can be mounted on boats, roofs, and other irregular surfaces. This is also made possible partly due to its superb flexibility, which enables it to be installed even on the most inconvenient places such as the curved roof of an airstream.
When laid flat, this solar panel is only about one-tenth tall. It has a super-thin lamination which means it is about 95% thinner than a conventional solar panel, a feature that will come in handy when you need to conceal your solar panel.
It has an extreme wind tolerance of up to 2,400Pa and also a snow tolerance of up to 5,400Pa, this makes it durable and can last for a very long time. It is ideal for stealthy applications such as rooftops, boats, RV, and any other curved surface you can think off.
2. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel 100W 18V 12V Flexible Solar Charger
One of ALLPOWERS Solar Panel 100W 18V 12V Solar most significant features is its excellent efficiency, which measures up to 23.5% more than other products in the same category. It is also weather-resistant and will not cave in to the water; this feature makes it suitable for unpredictable weather condition.
Also, it has a durable laminate that ensures it will last for a very long time, unlike the standard glass and aluminum of most solar panels. With pre-drilled holes in each corner of the solar panel, it is quick and easy to mount and dismount at will.
Though it weighs only 4.7 pounds yet it has 100W of power. It features a thin plastic sheet behind the panel and can be bent to about 30o. With this, it can be mounted on curved, irregular surfaces such as RVs, trucks, boats, cabins, trailers, etc.
As a safety-conscious brand, the panel makes use of short circuit and features a surge protection technology. It is also CE, RoHS and FCC certified, what's more, it has an eighteen months warranty.
3. Unisolar PVL-144 Laminate, Amorphous 24V Solar Panel
This solar panel is simple and easy to install. This makes it ideal for commercial use as well as home and boat/RV applications.
In addition to this, each of the modules makes use of triple-junction amorphous silicon solar cells hence, red sunlight, green sunlight and blue sunlight are absorbed into different layers of cells and in turn yielding maximum energy production.
Furthermore, it is a durable and lightweight solar panel which makes transportation of the product easy and convenient. It has an easy peel-and-stick option which makes it stick to almost all surfaces in a matter of seconds; it can also withstand the hot temperature known with metal roofs.
For that weekend getaway that promises to be fun, get the Unisolar PVL-144 Laminate, Amorphous 24V Solar Panel and never have to worry about power supply.
4. Genssi 4x 100W Mono Flexible Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel
The Genssi 4x 100W Mono Flexible Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel is ideal for marine application, dry camp, boats, cars, and other off-grid uses. It features a TPT black sheet which enables the solar panel to perform better and ensures it lasts long too.
Also, it can bypass diode lower drop, which results from shades and also ensures the panel performs to its utmost ability, especially in areas where the light is dim.
Moreover, it has a monocrystalline packed cell that is 22% more efficient than normal. Also, its advanced encapsulation material which comes with layers of lamination and helps improve the solar panel performance.
Since it has no glass frame, it is guaranteed to last even longer, it comes with a 25-year warranty on its output energy and a five-year material warranty. This solar panel will give you value for your money.
5. Unisolar PVL-136 Power Bond Flexible Solar Panel
If you need a solar panel with the easiest installation, then the Unisolar PVL-136 Power Bond Flexible Solar Panel is your best bet. Its 18-foot-long panel is Power Bond, a feature that enables you to roll it out from wherever it was kept and then fixed to any surface, curved or not and this can be done using its adhesive backing.
With only a thickness of 2" and a weight of 17lbs it is ultra-thin and super light, it is incredibly flexible, and this is mainly because there are no parts of the frame of edge that is rigid. It is ideal for metal surfaces such as roofing sheets and so on.
It gives no room for water, dust, or any other particle to penetrate; therefore, it is resistant to weather condition, and this enables the panel to last for a very long time. It can withstand intense sun rays, so you need not worry if it's placed under direct sunlight.
6. Lensun 100W 12V Black Fiberglass Semi-Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
It is designed with a fiberglass sheet which is softer and lighter than aluminum. It also works better with ETFE film than with plastic or aluminum sheet which is in common with other solar panels. This solar panel is a perfect blend of technology and craftsmanship to bring you one of the best flexible panels you will ever encounter.
The EFTE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) found in the first layer of the panel has significant sunlight absorption to reflection ratio. Although expensive, it's a better alternative to PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) which although is a cheaper alternative and more familiar with some solar panels, reduces the energy output of the solar panel.
Furthermore, it is highly efficient and flexible and is ideal for RVs, marine boats, mobile homes, and other applications. However, it is advisable not to fold the solar panel more than 10o to avoid damaging it.
If you are looking for a solar panel that is waterproof, flexible, lightweight, durable and resistant to harsh operating conditions in a marine environment then the Lensun 100W 12V Black Fiberglass Semi-Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel is what you have been looking for all along.
How to install flexible solar panels?
After making a choice on the type of solar panel to buy, the next question will be how to install the flexible solar panel. You need not contact an expert as it is something you can do yourself; all it takes is a surface.
Most times, the process of installation is quiet simple and straightforward depending on where you wish the panel to be installed. If you purchased a flexible solar panel with a pre-drilled grommet then you are just in luck. However, to ensure the solar panel wont fall off especially during heavy rain or wind, its best to screw down the solar panel to the surface.
While some do not have a problem screwing down their solar panel to any surface, some people are not comfortable with this. If you belong to the later group then you can get a backing of plywood where the solar panel can be screwed on rather than drill holes through your boat, roof or RV.
You could also use adhesive glue or a tape to hold the panel tightly to the surface. This would ensure the panel doesn’t come off. Once you are done installing, set up the entire system, (you can discover how that is done in the manual that comes with the solar panel). Thereafter, your solar panel is ready to use; you can now enjoy uninterrupted power supply at a cheaper and cost effective way.
Read more: How to choose and setup best solar charge controllers?
Flexible panels being a new and better improvement option from the conventional solar panels are affordable and helps save our environment and natural resources from depletion.
If ever you want to go camping with friends and family, boat cruising or need an alternative source of light in your home, having any best flexible solar panels which can be installed and uninstalled from any surface will ensure you never stay in darkness.
Yes, there are lots of products available in the market but nothing as good as the ones reviewed in this article, so go ahead and make a choice, you will be glad you did.
Read more: Top 10 Best Outdoor Solar Lights in The Market