In this Flexible Solar Panel Review, we will show you If you need steady power on the go and are thinking of the environment, then portable and flexible solar panels are what you may be looking for. The fact that flexible solar panels fold and roll as opposed to the traditional stiff and stationery design most people are used to. Because of the flexible nature of the design, you will find these useful for all kinds of things such as camping, hiking, climbing, and much more. Flexible solar panels are also the ideal solution for use with boats, RVs, and cars and can be used to charge solar batteries.
We will look at various factors when considering what makes for the best flexible solar panel review such as power and efficiency. The more watts a panel emits the faster it charges a battery, and a high-efficiency panel requires much less surface area to produce the same amount of watts. So let’s dive right into the top picks.
1. Renogy RNG-100DB-H 100 W Solar Panel – Best Flexible Solar Panels For Boats
The Renogy Solar Panel is one powerful piece unit that gives you up to 100W of energy. It’s so flexible you’ll think it’ll break – turns out it has the strength to form a 248-degree arc. The panel is lightweight, easy to install, and it can withstand wind speeds of up to 2400 Pa and up to 5400 Pa of snow. Given its versatile design, you’ll be able to use this solar panel on your RV if you have one
Buying Guide: Flexible Solar Panels For Boats
Features to consider before buying
Materials and durability
For flexible solar panels to last many years the thing to look at closely is the material they are made out of. The better the quality of the material the more durable the panels will be and thus you get the most value for your hard-earned cash. You will be using solar panels outside so look for water-resistant ones, snow resistant, and impact resistant. The best panels you can buy are made from ETFE. This material is extremely strong and weatherproof. There are tons of other advantages of flexible solar panels vs rigid panels.
How far can the panel bend? This is the question you should be asking when shopping for one that flexes. 30 degrees is what the normal range is for these panels but many can bend even more than that with some bending to a crazy 248-degree arc.
Installation & Warranty
You will want to either look for pre-drilled holes or some other kind of creative and innovative easy mounting hardware as a feature of your panel. A trustworthy warranty is very important when buying solar panels due to the extreme weather conditions and other factors involved. You will never find one with a lifetime warranty but 1 to 2-year warranties are ideal. The best and most reliable panels can sometimes offer a fantastic 5-year warranty.
Ever since flexible solar panels were perfected and made available for wide use they have exploded in popularity for those looking to use them in an RV, boats, tents, trucks, trailer, and any other scenario requiring creative mounting. Also using these panels to create energy for your home can free you from the high priced electric bills many family’s hate.
The main appeal however has got to be the lightweight and flexible nature of these panels for those looking to use them in roaming situations when traveling and going on adventures. Whatever your reasoning may be for buying one of these flexible solar panels, knowing the facts and having the right guidance can help you narrow the options and hone into the product that is ideal for you.
How do flexible solar panels work?
The photovoltaic effect is the ability of certain materials to produce energy when light hits it. Solar panels convert light into direct current electrical energy. From there and inverter transfers the direct current into an alternating current (AC) so it can be easily utilized in your home or anywhere you may have it installed. If you don’t consume all of the generated energy any excess is stored in a battery bank for usage later.
Advantages of flexible solar panels
As we have mentioned before these flexible type panels are popular for use on moving machines like boats, cars, RV, and travel trailers. Being extremely portable and flexible, however, is not the only benefit to be had from these. Saving money is a huge advantage of flexible solar panels especially when being used in homes due to the possibility of eliminating an electric bill altogether.
Flexibility is a very useful attribute since these panels which bend at various degrees can be mounted on all kinds of curved surfaces like the top of cars. In addition to being flexible, these panels are also extremely thin which allows them to fit into gaps and difficult areas other traditional panels wouldn’t dare attempt.
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Best Flexible Solar Panels For Boats Reviewed
Here are some of the flexible solar panels that caught our attention in the course of this review.
1. Renogy RNG-100DB-H 100 W Solar Panel – Best Flexible Solar Panels For Boats
We had to include this 100-watt option from Renogy due to its 248-degree arc which allows for mounting on all kinds of irregular surfaces where other panels have no chance of fitting. The panel comes equipped with some super durable structural adhesive made from silicone on the back allowing it to be mounted almost anywhere. This Renogy panel is not as efficient as our top choice at only 15.46% efficiency but is still a great panel generating 100 watts for the price and worthwhile for unique mounting situations.
Instead of PET, this panel uses ETFE material which provides for much higher light transmittance and longer service. Also unlike PET, ETFE can withstand higher temperatures, is less corrosive, and can self-clean. All of this provides a great combo for those mounting it outdoors in sub-par conditions.
Finally, one of the most impressive features of this panel is the weight. At only a mere 4 pounds it blows traditional panels out of the water at nearly 70% lighter. The lighter weight makes transportation and mounting easier than any traditional solar panel. This panel is super sleek and thick at a tenth of an inch which also makes it easy to hide if that is your design goal. If mounting on a vehicle the reduction in MPG is also worth the weight savings as well. Also, enjoy a 5-year warranty and feel confident that this thin panel is also durable.
This 100-watt Giaride solar panel emphasizes easy installation. The options for mounting this panel include glue, tape, grommet, and even velcro. The pre-drilled holes make for a very rapid setup when mounting. Also, the same factors make for easy removal when the time comes. This flexible solar panel is extremely efficient at 21% which means it blows any traditional panel out of the water. The high efficiency means that less sunlight is required to produce energy. At 100 watts of output power with 18 volts, you will have no issue charging anything even on the road.
While not being as flexible as other panels on this list at only 30 degrees, it can still be mounted on slightly curved surfaces like rooftops, motor homes, and cabins. Much like the earlier model on this list the solar cells are monocrystalline. In case you missed it before, monocrystalline is the top of the line for energy conversion.
If you want a panel that is easy to mount, take down, transport, and store then this one may be for you at only 4 pounds in weight. Durability is pretty high as well with this water-resistant and dustproof panel. In the package, you will also find an 18-month warranty as well as a very well designed instruction manual. If an easy installation is what you are going for here and don’t need the highest level of flex for your project, you should consider the Giaride solar panel.
If you like to buy products made here in the good ole USA then take a look at the SunPower solar cell. It has a far superior transformation efficiency of up to 22% and even as high as 25 %. Due to that, the panel does not require a whole lot of light to be effective which is great for areas that do not get a lot of direct sunlight. As with all flexible solar panels, this one is ideal for mounting on irregular surfaces with a 30-degree flex. Cabins, cars, trucks, RVs, and more will easily work well with this panel. With a power output of 50 watts and 18 volts, you can charge 12v lead-acid batteries and many other types of equipment too.
This is the lightest panel of our list so far at only 2.4 pounds and possibly is the lightest panel at this wattage in the world. As always you will be easily hanging and removing and transporting this panel due to how light it is. The panel is very durable and even water-resistant. Featuring short circuit and surge protection you can expect some very high user safety standards. With an 18-month manufacturer’s warranty, you will have full confidence in the longevity of this great flexible solar panel.
Allpowers is a very reliable company famous for its quality products and this particular flexible solar panel is no exception. With an immense efficiency of around 24%, it outshines a similar panel in the same class with a mere 17 to 19& efficiency. One unique and useful feature of this awesome panel is water-resistant. With this, you can be sure to have a working panel even in the face of unpredictable weather conditions. Unlike conventional glass and aluminum panels, this model is made from a durable laminate which gives it a long lifespan in comparison.
As far as mounting is concerned this panel comes with convenient pre-drilled holes on all corners to make the task a breeze. This design also makes the panel ideal for those particular temporary installations. The Allpowers is frameless and lightweight which adds to the ease of installation and removal as well as transportation. Even though it only weighs just over 4 pounds it packs a punch at 100 watts of power.
When it comes down to flexibility the panel features a thin plastic sheet on the back which can be bent up to 30 degrees. With the flexibility on hand, your mounting options increase exponentially. With safety in mind, you can also add short circuit and surge protection to the list of features offered as well. Speaking of safety this panel is even certified by the CE, RoHS, and the FCC. Don’t be wary of spending the cash for the top-notch panel because it comes with an 18-month warranty. The old motto, you get what you pay for is appropriate here as even though it is expensive it is an efficient and very reliable panel.
When it comes to a very well trusted brand in the world of solar, Renogy is one of the top companies out there. They have some of the best and most reliable flexible solar panels money can buy. In this case, the ultra-flexible panel is a 160-watt monocrystalline model. A very high amount of flex allows for bending at up to a whopping 248 degrees which open it up to almost limitless applications.
The Renogy panel gets its uncanny flexibility from its ultra-thin design. At only about a tenth of an inch thick you may think it is somehow fragile but in actuality, this panel is super strong and durable. The Renogy flexible solar panels can take pretty abusive weather conditions and has very high customer ratings on durability.
Suppose you had any doubt about how strong these ultra-thin flexible solar panels are. In that case, Renogy puts you at ease with a 5-year material and workmanship warranty as well as a 25-year power output warranty. The second warranty guarantees the panel will maintain high output for over two decades. The 160-watt output on these panels will be more than enough for most RV owners. The 36 monocrystalline solar cells are highly efficient and perform well in low light, providing adequate charging on a cloudy day.
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The reason we have crowned the Renogy 175 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel the king in our flexible solar panels review is due to the superior EFTE film and extremely high efficiency. You can’t go wrong here and we highly recommend it.
However, if flexibility is your main concern look no further than the Renogy RNG-100DB-H 100W solar panel because it can bend up to a whopping 248 degrees. You can wrap this panel around a circular surface for creative applications. It also comes with a highly prized 5-year warranty.
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