With the advancement of solar energy products – flexible solar panels have emerged. Flexible solar panels are usually meant for boats, RVs, and unique roofs that are curved or too fragile to handle traditional, (firm) solar panels.
They can be shaped to fit the surface they are installed on. True to their name, flexible solar panels can bend and go anywhere. Actually, this is a preferred method specifically for off-grid living – so campers and boaters – these are for you! They’re easier to use, lightweight and way more efficient.
Financially, this is also a better option: flexible solar panels cost a fraction of what firm solar panels cost. While rigid solar panels start around the nine-thousand dollar mark for installation, you can buy individual flexible solar panels for a little over a hundred dollars. But be wary of getting flexible solar panels at a really cheap price, as you may encounter expensive issues down the line.
When trying to make your purchasing decision, you’ll want to think about the below factors:
Type of Flexible Solar Panel: Thin-film versus Crystalline silicon
- Thin-film: This type is extremely flexible as they can be bent or rolled. They are convenient for portable applications and can fit on a variety of different materials, however they’re not as widely used.
- Crystalline: This includes polycrystalline and monocrystalline. The individual wafers of silicon used are too thick to be flexible, but if they’re cut thin enough, a solar cell has the flexibility of about 30 degrees. This type isn’t as flexible as thin-film but still adheres well to curved surfaces such as an RV roof.
After type, coating or lamination is a significant factor when it comes to flexible solar panels. There is PET (a polyester plastic) and ETFE (a fluorine based polymer). ETFE seems to be a better choice. They are durable, have a higher lifespan and can withstand harsh weather conditions more than PET laminents.
Weight and Flex Range
This factor will be heavily determined by your personal needs. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your surface area, how much weight it can hold and how far you need your panels to bend.
As with most new expensive purchases, the warranty says a lot. Basically, if you come across flexible solar panels that have a 25-year power output warranty – you’re in good hands.
Get ready to be cool and confident in your solar energy off-grid. With quality flexible solar panels, you’ll be able to power up your gadgets and gizmos while protecting the environment at the same time. Take a look through our product round-up below!