What comes to mind when many people think of solar panels are typically the dark, rigid, heavy, and immobile panels mounted on rooftops. Therefore, learning about flexible solar panels might come as a pleasant surprise.
Flexible solar panels are an innovative solar technology that offers a lightweight and portable solution to the conventional bulky, heavy, and often difficult to install solar panels. They are constructed with ultra-thin silicon wafers designed to capture the energy and are only a few micrometers in thickness.
How Flexible Solar Panels Work
Flexible solar panels work much like conventional solar panels. This is because they are based on the same photovoltaic technology, which allows the material to absorb direct sunlight and generate solar power. Traditional solar panels are made up of silicon wafers. In order to make a solar panel bend, the silicon wafers must be cut down to just a few micrometers wide. Using these ultra-thin silicon wafers gives solar panels many unique properties, including flexibility.
They have a lightweight and versatile nature; hence they are very portable, and they can be bent and folded, which is something you can’t have with conventional solar panels as a result of their rigidity. Also, they can be transported much easier.
Flexible solar panels are manufactured with high-grade materials and processes and are available in different sizes to meet different needs. It is, therefore, an efficient and reliable source of power for a variety of applications.
Flexible solar panels can be used on the go, for boats, autos, and RVs. If you are into outdoor activities, or activities that take you off the grid (for instance, camping or boating) and you have significant power needs or lots of energy-hungry devices that portable batteries cannot satisfy, flexible solar panels may be a good option for you.
What Are The Benefits?
The highest benefit of the flexible solar panel is its agility factor. They are lightweight and are capable of easily fitting into spaces where conventional solar panels cannot fit. For example, if your home did not pass the roof test for the installation of solar panels because of structural issues, flexible solar panels offer a reasonable alternative.
Also, flexible solar panels can be attached to unusual places easily. For instance, it can be integrated perfectly to align with any surface such as cars, etc.
Additionally, flexible solar panels require less labor and effort to be installed, and they can be carried easily since they are lightweight; hence its cost of installation is lesser than regular solar panels.
Installation of Flexible Solar Panels
The options for mounting your solar panel may differ depending on the type of surface you are mounting it to and also the type of vessel or vehicle you are mounting it to. If you are mounting to the roof of your car or RV, the panel will be subjected to high winds, and it will need a semi-permanent installation to avoid a situation where the panel is being ripped off the roof.
Drilling holes into your RV’s roof is a way to anchor down your flexible solar panel. However, there are other mounting techniques that do not require any drilling and can provide an insulated barrier between the roof and the solar panel, which can improve cooling, as well as the longevity and efficiency of the solar panel.
Best Flexible Solar Panels
Some of the best flexible solar panel options are as follows:
Renogy 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel: If you are looking for a well-made flexible solar panel, constructed with 21% efficient monocrystalline silicon, that will produce a lot of power for your needs, this flexible solar panel is an option worth considering. It comes with a 25-year power and 5-year product warranty.
Rich Solar 12 Volt ETFE Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel: Rich Solar offers this flexible solar panel that makes use of monocrystalline cells and with a great warranty. Their solar panels seem to be well-constructed with an IP68 waterproof rating and have great prices for the 80 and 100-watt sizes.
SunPower Flexible Monocrystalline High-Efficiency Solar Panel: this option is recommended if you need maximum power performance from your solar panel. They are made with Maxeon silicon and have up to 25% efficient monocrystalline cells. It comes with a decent warranty and has an excellent power temperature.
In conclusion, flexible solar panels have introduced another approach to living off-grid. However, one still needs to choose the best flexible solar panel to enjoy its benefits. There are so many other options, in addition to those suggested here, that are available to check out while looking for the best solar panels to buy. However, ensure to consult with a qualified solar power installation expert before deciding.