- 1 Top 5 Best Flexible Solar Panels: Comparison Table
- 1.1 Best Overall: Most Durable - RICH SOLAR 80 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
- 1.2 Totally Waterproof: Most Lightweight - Renogy 160 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
- 1.3 5 Year Power Warranty: SunPower Flexible Solar Panel Review
- 1.4 Efficient: WindyNation 100W Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
- 1.5 Ideal For RV: ECO-WORTHY 300 Watts Bendable Flexible Solar Panels Review
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: All You Need To Know About The Best Flexible Solar Panels
- 2.1 What Are Flexible Solar Panels?
- 2.2 Pros And Cons Of Flexible Solar Panels
- 2.3 How Are Flexible Solar Panels Best Used With Rv’s?
- 2.4 How to choose the best flexible solar panels
- 2.5 What Types Of Flexible Solar Panels Are There For Rv’s?
- 2.6 Flexible Solar Panels Issues Revealed
- 3 Conclusion
Top 5 Best Flexible Solar Panels: Comparison Table
To help you choose the best flexible solar panels for RV or for your home, we’ve created a comparison chart including the most important features of the best flexible solar panels. This chart should help you to get a better idea of which residential solar panel kit will suit you best. Each of these lightweight solar panels is one of the top products on the market. Not every household solar panels have the exact same features, and we will get into special features of each model later in our product reviews, but this table should give you a basic outline of what each flexible solar panel for your home has to offer.
Best Overall: Most Durable - RICH SOLAR 80 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
- Lightweight: 4.3 lb / 1.95 kg
- Thickness: 1/8 in / 3 mm
- Flexing up to 30 degrees
- Dimensions: 33.3 x 27.2 x 0.11 in
- 25 year limited power output warranty
Totally Waterproof: Most Lightweight - Renogy 160 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
- Extremely Flexible - With a flex range of up to 248 degrees, this panel is capable of meeting a wide range of applications where standard panels can be inconvenient to mount, such as on the curved roof of an airstream.
- Ultra Lightweight - Thanks to advanced polymer materials, this product weighs 70% less than conventional solar panels, making transportation and installation a breeze.
- Super Thin Lamination - Discreet and thin, the Renogy 160W Lightweight Panel is only a tenth of an inch thick. Approximately 95% thinner than its rigid counterpart, this panel is ideal for a stealthy solar setup.
- Highly Durable - Rigorously tested, the 160W panel is designed to withstand extreme wind of up to 2400Pa and snow loads of up to 5400Pa. Monocrystalline 18.4%.Bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light environments.
- Potential Uses - The Renogy 160 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Panel can be primarily used on off-grid applications that include rooftop, RV, boats and any curvy surfaces.
5 Year Power Warranty: SunPower Flexible Solar Panel Review
- Dimensions: 45.9"(L) x 21.9"(W) x 0.1"(H) (0.8" including J-Box)
- Weight: 4.4lbs - Lightweight, Portable, and Easy to Stow
- Power: Rated Voltage (Vmpp) 18.8V | Rated current (Impp) 5.9A
- Flexible: up to 30 degrees - Suitable for Irregular Surfaces
- 5-Year power & 2-Year product warranty (no salt water exclusion) - Backed by SunPower
Efficient: WindyNation 100W Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
- Semi-Flexible: the panel can be flexed to a maximum of 30 degrees. This allows the panel to be flush mounted to curved surfaces like RV's, sailboats, campers, tents, etc. Ultra-thin: solar pane is only 0.1 inches thick.
- The solar panel and junction box are completely water resistant. Suitable for outdoor use in all weather conditions.
- Extremely light weight and efficient. The solar panel weighs approximately 4 pounds and utilizes highly efficient monocrystalline solar cells. The panel is easy to transport and mount, which is ideal for mobile applications.
- Very easy to mount. Six evenly spaced metal grommet mounting holes are available to attach fasteners. The panel can also be mounting using adhesive or Velcro.
- Blocking diode is included in the junction box to eliminate battery discharge/draining at night. The solar panel arrives ready for installation with 36 inches of 12 AWG solar cable leads with PV Connectors pre-attached.
Ideal For RV: ECO-WORTHY 300 Watts Bendable Flexible Solar Panels Review
- Perfect for RV using, this polycrystalline solar panel size 53.3"x27.2"x0.08" with lightweight 7.94lbs
- Flexible solar panel contains 32 efficient solar cells. It can be curved to a maximum 30 degree arc
- Sealed waterproof junction box within diode, makes charging battery safer and a pair of 39.3 inches cables with PV solar connectors make install easily
- This solar panel is a good choice for curved surfaces of RV, boat,sailboat, yacht,truck, car, coach, cabin, camper , tent , trailer, golf cart or any other irregular surface
- Low cost and convenient install by Caravan Adhesive(doesn't include). Install on RV, the solar panel is sleek and barely noticeable
Buyer’s Guide: All You Need To Know About The Best Flexible Solar Panels
Portable flexible solar panels make a more versatile option when compared to glass, aluminum or other hard solar panels. The rigid solar panels will always have to be permanently mounted onto a solid surface, meaning you will unlikely be able to uninstall or move it to another location. Flexible solar panels are very easy to use, as they can be installed in one area and uninstalled and transferred to be used in another. You can choose to install them on the top of your RV, boat, yacht, tent, or any other surface. You can also use them for home. To put it simply, all you need to do is install it on any surface you want it to be. After installation, you’ll just have to wait a while before your best flexible solar panels start to work. It should be noted that it will be slow at first, as it takes the solar panels a while to get charged. Also if you notice that they aren’t charging as much as the manufacturer advertises, you need to be aware of the weather, as a lack of sunlight can affect the performance.
What Are Flexible Solar Panels?
Flexible solar panels are created from either polycrystalline or monocrystalline substances. They are usually around 200 micrometers thick. If we were comparing them to an object it would literally be less than paper-thin. To create these “flexible” solar panels, the silicon wafers are sliced to be a few micrometers thick. Using this technique allows the solar panels to have a unique property, which increases and enhances its ability to work properly while bending.
They are also created on a super-thin silicon cell base. Extensive research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has made extreme advancements in organic solar cell technology. Instead of just using silicon as the main material for these solar panels, researchers have created organic materials with a mix of electrodes of graphene. There has always been a limiting factor in the flexibility of solar panels and that is the brittleness of the electrodes. However, due to new phone transparent and bendable ability, it leads to a thinner and more flexible structure that the present has come to know.
Thin Film Panels: A Flexible Panel Option
These solar panels are designed with layers of material which are 300x smaller than in the usual silicon solar panels. This makes them perfect to use in limited space. The thin panels are very lightweight, durable, and are a great option depending on the customer’s needs. If your best flexible solar panel has to be easy to install/uninstall and take up the least amount of space, these panels are for you.
Pros And Cons Of Flexible Solar Panels
One advantage of owning flexible solar panels is that they are able to work for multiple types of solar panel projects. If your roof can’t hold a large number of solar panels because of the heavyweight, a lightweight flexible solar panel that is created from thin materials can be an excellent solution that won’t risk damage or compromising your home. These flexible panels can be shaped to fit surfaces of up to 30 degrees of a curved surface, and they can be installed easily without any drilling or other installation methods that may permanently damage your property.
Because solar panels are reducing in price, buying a full set of solar panels became quite affordable. They require less work to install, are easily transported, and save much-needed space. Other traditional types of solar panels are very heavy and bulky, making them hard to install and transport, especially if you’re installing onto the top of a vehicle or building. The flexible thin solar panels make much more sense.
The most prevalent issue for thin solar panels is the fact that they may not be as effective as traditional solar panels. The efficiency usually ranges between 14-17% for monocrystalline panels. Thin solar panels will offer an even smaller amount of efficiency which is between 11-13%. This low efficiency means you will need to install multiple solar panels in order to produce the same amount of energy for one traditional solar panel.
Lastly, flexible solar panels may not be the best pick for some homeowners. This is because your roof may not have enough space, as you will likely have to install a bunch to keep up with your energy needs. However, due to their durability, flexible solar panels are better for small projects that don’t require a full amount of energy. This makes them ideal for RV’s, boats, tents, etc. Please be aware that thinner solar panels are more prone to wear and tear through bad weather conditions, so install them with this in mind.
How Are Flexible Solar Panels Best Used With Rv’s?
The most efficient flexible solar panels come in either 50 or 100 wattage variations, but sometimes with newer models, you can find 120-watt flexible solar panels, 150-watt or even 200-watt flexible solar panels. You can use them for RVs, or any other type of 12-volt batteries. If you do intend to purchase solar panels for recharging batteries, you will likely need to buy multiple panels if you need any more than 12 volts. A 100 wattage solar panel can usually charge one 12-volt battery, but you should always check with the manufacturer for final clarifications. We highly suggest you not to try to use a solar panel to charge your RV because this can be extremely dangerous.
How to choose the best flexible solar panels
You usually need 1, or 2 x 100 Watt flexible solar panels with a solar controller (so you don’t damage your battery on a long term basis) to charge an RV 12v battery. So a 100-watt flexible solar panel will work. Generally, one 100-watt flexible solar panel puts out around 18.6 volts. For a 12v rechargeable battery, this will be sufficient.
- If you want to charge an RV battery – 12 or 24-volt flexible solar panels, make sure the panel voltage and amperage output are above what the battery requires. Check with the manufacturer, as you may have to buy two 120w flexible solar panels to charge a 24-volt battery for example.
- Check the solar panel – Make sure it has the connections you need for the devices you want to charge a. battery, Mc4 connectors etc.
- Check whether you need a solar controller – to charge the devices you want to charge so you don’t damage them. It’s very important that you get a solar controller that way none of your other devices are damaged.
- Check exactly what the panel is designed for – how many devices can you charge at a time? How long will the panel take to charge the devices you want to charge?
- Check whether it’s best to get a regenerator – to store energy so you can use the stored energy when the sun isn’t out.
- Solar controller – A solar controller can help prevent damage from happening to any of your devices. This is important if you’re going to be trying to charge your devices with the panel. Please do not underestimate the importance of how quickly an electrical surge can accidentally damage both the solar panel and any connected devices.
- Regenerator/charger – If you’re not using the solar panel you may want to get a regenerator or charger to store energy that you aren’t using at the time.
- Extra connections and adapters – Make sure you get all the appropriate extra connections and adapters you may need for your solar panel. For example, like the MC4.
Solar panel technology is advancing every single year as more people become aware of how handy this invention is. This means new companies are constantly working on their best flexible solar panels to make them even greater and offer you better user experience. If you’d like to know more about flexible solar panels, keep reading. We will list how well these flexible solar panels are compared to the normal photovoltaic cells.
What Types Of Flexible Solar Panels Are There For Rv’s?
There are two main types of solar panels which are good for RV use. The first is a semi-flexible solar panel. These solar panels are made out of laminate that is lightweight and easy to install. However, they can’t be bent to extreme measures. Another type of solar panels for RV use are bendable solar panels. These are created from laminates that are very light, but they can only bend up to 30 degrees, which in most cases is enough. The bendable solar panels are the best choice for RV drivers or any other vehicles such as campers. Just please be careful while you are installing.
Flexible Solar Panels Issues Revealed
Flexible solar panels do have the risk of issues when installing them in an RV. One issue that many people are aware of is that flat solar panels aren’t really that necessary. They are somewhat expensive, and sometimes they don’t last as long as other types of solar panels that are crafted from more durable materials. So, instead of just telling you about the newer models of flexible solar panels, we’ll educate you and let you decide if those are good enough for you.
Cupping – You will need to be aware of cupping. This happens when a flexible solar panel is put into weather conditions that are either way too hot or way too cold. This can cause the panels to become warped and bend out of shape. Because of this, water, dirt, and any other particles may seep and sneak their way into the “dents” or “cups” located on the panel. Please Make sure that if your solar panels do become warped that you make an effort to clean them out every once in a while.
Flat Roofs – Rave’s that have a very flat room can sometimes cause water or other bits and particles to stay and sit on top of the panels, especially if they are installed flat as well. This can be an issue as sediment and debris can cause your solar panels to run inefficiently.
Scratches – Be extremely careful while cleaning your flexible solar panels! Any debris or sediment that is stuck in the cups of the solar panels can scratch the surface and redder part of the panel defective.
Gouges – Another issue you’ll have to be aware of if you’re putting the solar panels on the top of your RV is when you’re driving through woods. This will not damage your solar panel or hinder its ability to work, but it will damage the outside protective coating.
Non-tilting – When you install the flexible solar panels you may just have them installed flat on top of the roof of your RV. This isn’t a serious issue, but if it’s not tilted or has the ability to tilt, you may not be maximizing the effectiveness of the solar panel. Sunlight hits your car at different angles, so to make the panels work at max efficiency it needs to hit the sunlight correctly.
Warranty – A majority of solar panels come with a 10-year warranty for any damages that are caused by the product. This will not cover any accidental damages, misuse, abuse, etc. But on the upside, 10 years is a long time for a product to be covered. In 10 years there will be better technology for solar panels, so the warranty is technically like a lifetime guarantee for the product.
No screws – You’ll get fewer holes in your home or RV because you can install the newest solar panels without having to drill through anything. This is wonderful because no one wants to see the roof of their house damaged or holes in the top of their RV.
Lightweight – The flexible solar panels are very tiny when compared to the traditional ones. So, remember that when you’re transporting and installing them. They break pretty easily and will get damaged with even the slightest of bumps. They are still technology.
Better Aerodynamics – Best flexible solar panels can provide you with a better fuel economy and flat solar panels are going to be more aerodynamic. This means that you’ll be getting better gas mileage when you’re out on the road.
Bendable and Flexible – One of the best benefits to these panel solar flexible which is quite apparent, is that they are the best solar panels you can buy if you’re looking to install them on an uneven surface. Let’s be real here for a moment. Ideally, you’d wish that most surfaces were completely flat and you probably could install a straight flat solar panel which would give you more energy. However, you’re out on an RV or camper, etc. You can have all the wishful thinking you want, but you’ll have to come to terms with installing a flat solar panel means not only drilling into your property, and likely causing some damage, but also most of the time your vehicle or desired surface isn’t going to be completely flat.
You could take the risk of trying to install a flat solar panel onto the vehicle, but I can tell you from experience and many failed attempts that you’re most likely going to cause it to break or crack. So, a simple solution which is a lot easier to install and much better at getting you a better angle to absorb the sunlight is a flexible/bendable solar panel. So, why not invest in one? The cost of flexible solar panels is starting to go down, and they are becoming more advanced every year. This makes it a perfect opportunity to buy flexible solar panels. The only advice we can give you is to always make sure you know what type of specs you want before you go looking to purchase one. And always pay attention and install according to the factory’s instructions. If you don’t you may risk breaking or damaging the solar panel, and that won’t be covered by warranty.
There are so many different flexible solar panels for home on today’s market and let’s face it, there are only going to be more coming out in the next few years. We are revolutionizing how we get our energy, and if we can harness the power of the sun, there’s almost nothing we can’t do. If you own this product you will be saving yourself much needed money. There is no reason for you to have to constantly invest in energy when you can easily get it from your backyard. By installing a flexible solar panel, you will be able to finally use all of your devices without having to worry about the electricity bill. And who doesn’t like to see extra money at the end of the month?
According to homemakerguide review, the best flexible solar panel is the RICH SOLAR 80 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel. The reason for this is because it gave the most amount of energy, without sacrificing on other safety aspects, as well as other features. It’s a small power-packed panel that gives high transparency glass, easy installation, high module conversion, and high cell performance. It’s also reliable, built from high-quality materials, as well as easy to learn how to use.