Solar panels are a great option for people who wish to choose a renewable energy source. There are different types of solar panels, among which flexible solar panels are gaining a lot of attention. It is because flexible solar panels are portable and provide you with renewable energy when you are on the go.
Campers, boaters, and people who travel often will find flexible solar panels to be very useful. It will help keep all your devices powered at all times with solar power. You will get clean solar power, and you do not have to worry about your devices dying.
The guide offers you complete information about flexible solar panels. It also focuses on the pros and cons of these flexible panels so you can make an informed choice.
- 1 What Are Flexible Solar Panels?
- 2 How Do Flexible Solar Panels Work?
- 3 Types of Flexible Solar Panels
- 4 How Do You Choose The Flexible Solar Panels?
- 5 Top Flexible Solar Panels
- 6 Benefits of Flexible Solar Panels
- 7 Drawbacks of Flexible Solar Panels
- 8 How Do You Maintain A Flexible Solar Panel?
- 9 Summing Up
What Are Flexible Solar Panels?
When you are travelling, portable batteries will help you charge your devices. However, they will eventually run out of power, and your devices will die down. That is why you need a source of clean solar energy which can continually charge your devices.
Flexible solar panels are portable solar panels made from ultra-thin silicon cells. The solar panels get their flexibility due to this thinner composition
The flexible panels get power from sunlight, and this will help in charging your devices. You will not have to worry about your devices dying down due to lack of power. However, flexible solar panels have low-efficiency ratings around 7% to 15%; hence you will need more of them if you have many devices.
How Do Flexible Solar Panels Work?
Flexible solar panels work similarly to rigid solar panels. They absorb sunlight and convert the photon energy into electricity. It is known as the photovoltaic effect. When the photon comes in contact with the solar module, electrons flow in the solar cell due to this energy. It leads to the production of electric current.
The electricity you receive is direct current or DC power. It is ideally present in battery-powered equipment. When you use this power for commercial and household usage, it converts from DC to AC power or alternating current.
The only difference between flexible solar panels and rigid solar panels is their texture. It means you need to keep the rigid solar panels fixed, whereas you can carry the flexible solar panels around.
Types of Flexible Solar Panels
There are many types of solar panels on the market that you will come across. Below are three solar panels or solar cells that you will find.
Monocrystalline Solar Panel
A monocrystalline solar panel is made from pure solid crystals. These monocrystalline cells have good electron flow, are highly efficient, and are smaller in size. However, this monocrystalline silicon solar cell might be expensive for most people.
Polycrystalline Solar Panel
A polycrystalline solar panel is made from multiple silicon shards. They have lower efficiency as compared to monocrystalline silicon solar cells. However, the polycrystalline solar panel is a more affordable option for people.
Thin Film Solar Panels
Thin-film panels can be either mono or poly, but as the name suggests, they are very thin. These solar panels are extremely flexible, apart from being thinner than conventional solar panels. The thin-film solar cells also offer better performance in low-light. However, they are not so efficient as rigid panels.
How Do You Choose The Flexible Solar Panels?
You will need to look into certain factors when looking for flexible solar panels.
Size and Design
The first thing you need to focus on is the size and design of the flexible solar panel. If the space is large such as an RV roof, you can have multiple options for the right flexible solar panel. However, if the space is small, then you need to choose high-efficient flexible solar panel.
Generally, the efficiency of a flexible solar panel is lesser than a traditional solar panel. However, It can be very beneficial during low-light circumstances. If the efficiency level of the flexible solar panel is low, then you require more panels.
It would be best to look for a flexible solar panel that is durable, and you can use for a long time. The solar panel should be able to endure the conditions of the road. Generally, these solar panels are very durable and built for travel.
If the wattage of the solar panel is high, then the electricity production will be high. You will need to calculate the solar panel’s daily output to determine how many solar panels you require.
Top Flexible Solar Panels
With an increase in renewable energy sources, there has been an increase in solar manufacturers. Below are two examples of solar panels that are quite well-known. You can find more options in the market.
Renogy Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- Available in 50 Watt and 100 Watt
- Very lightweight
- High-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels
RS PRO PV Logic Flexi Solar Panel
- Available in 20 Watt
- Amazing design
Benefits of Flexible Solar Panels
The benefits of a flexible solar panel are as follows –
- Flexible solar panels are very flexible.
- Since these solar panels are made for travel, they are very compact.
- The solar panels are extremely durable and can withstand different road conditions.
- Flexible solar panels are adaptable for multiple solar applications.
Drawbacks of Flexible Solar Panels
The drawbacks of flexible solar panels are –
- Flexible solar panels are less efficient than rigid solar panels.
- Solar panels have a shorter lifespan.
How Do You Maintain A Flexible Solar Panel?
Flexible solar panels have lower efficiency and shorter lifespan. However, by maintaining them properly, you can maximize their efficiency. The tips for maintaining them efficiently are –
- You should not step on the solar cells when mounting the solar panel on a vehicle roof or other structures. Even though the solar panel is durable, silicon solar cells can get damaged. It would reduce the longevity and productivity of solar cells.
- The solar panel may be flexible, but it is better not to bend them. There are limits to their flexibility, and bending them will lead to cracks.
- Storing the flexible solar panel properly is essential to ensure its longevity and efficiency. When storing them, make sure they are flat and do not keep any other item on them.
- You need to clean the flexible solar panel from time to time to maximize the power performance of the panels. Clean them only with plain water and a soft cloth, so you do not scratch the surface. If you use a solar panel in a snowy region, you should clean them frequently to avoid accumulating snow.
- It is necessary to store the flexible solar panel when you are no longer using them. If the panels are exposed to external elements and UV light, they could degrade over time.
- You will need to use velcro to secure the solar panel to the roof when you mount them on the vehicle roof. It will help keep the solar panels in place when you are driving. Hence, the solar panels will not fall from the roof even if you drive on a rough trail.
One of the drawbacks of being on the move is you are unable to charge your devices. With flexible solar panels, you can keep your devices charged the whole time. However, you need to ensure you make the right choice when opting for these solar panels.
Look for the manufacturer and the efficiency of the solar panel. You also need to ensure that the solar panels are durable. Maintaining the solar panels is also crucial to ensure that the sun power reaches them without any hindrance.
Choose the right flexible solar panels and enjoy your journey without worrying about your devices.