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Old 04-20-16, 07:45 AM   #1
Elfresh
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Default Flexible Solar Panels

is anyone using any? what brand? where can i find them?

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Old 04-21-16, 10:30 AM   #2
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I've wanted to use them several times. They always seem WAY too expensive and they're lower efficiency than rigid panels. Thus, its never really panned out.
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Old 04-21-16, 10:34 AM   #3
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When I was looking at panels the flexible ones didn't generate as much as the non flexible units. How many watts of power are you looking at? What are you going to power?
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Old 04-22-16, 06:37 PM   #4
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How flexible?
I have some, a 30w and a 100w flex panes I bought for testing and evaluation.
They are not highly bendable but will conform to large radius bends and are almost as efficient as ridge panels.

The highly flexible panels are expensive, fragile and inefficient.
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Old 04-28-16, 04:04 AM   #5
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This the era of technology there are so many flexible solar panels. I have purchase the flexible solar panels so many times from this site freedomsolar.com you can choose on this site and ask anything from them. Trust me they provide best solar panel for you.
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Old 05-16-16, 08:58 PM   #6
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The 'very' flexible solar strips are very expensive and only worthwhile if you can't get the juice from other sources and just can't work with a rigid panel.

The 'semi-rigid' panels seem to boil down two kinds, the no longer produced UniSolar and the semi flexible mono crystalline glued to bendable plastic.

I have two strips of the Uni Solar panels I have run for years to play with and test out. They work and output as advertised. You can find them being sold on ebay and such via liquidators.
They are not all that practical for typical installations - you won't get rebates or incentives, and if you go for a full install, you'll blow the budget.
A good example of semi-rigid would be a rubber semi truck mud flap, or a thicker rubber floor mat. It bends but it's thick and sturdy.

I'm using them as a phantom/base load set off, with a micro-inverter. I don't have grid tie access in my area, but on the down low, I can generate no more than what my home uses with all the non-essentials off, to offset use and generate it more environmentally friendly. If I'd generate more, I'd run the meter backward and trigger a visit. The micro-inverter handles are the details so nobody is the wiser and few recognize that they are solar panels, they look like long mats.

Before setting it up, I determined that I could get down to approx 250watts and hour while away from home, so I sized accordingly.
My payoff is break even if the panels hold up and I keep using them. Without incentives, rebates, and tax credits, solar is still tough to make money, even if you do your own work, especially in lower cost areas such as mine with lots of cheap nuclear and dirty coal, and generation during winter hours is almost nil.
Not sure what you want to know
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Old 05-16-16, 11:03 PM   #7
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Default Parts Hacking

On Steve Roberts' Microship, he wanted very light but rigid panels, so he got a donation of plastic-coated silicon cells just lacking the usual aluminum backing. They would easily bend around a 1m diameter, and would probably have been OK down to 30 cm or less, but they were fragile until glued down. The efficiency was the same as the rigid panel, except for exposure angles if curved.
So, it may be possible to etch away an aluminum backing until it is thin enough to bend without cracking the silicon, or get rid of it completely if the next layer is resistant. You can dissolve any amount of aluminum in Sodium Hydroxide, commonly sold as Fantastic brand cleaner. Unlike acid, it is not diluted by the metal; it turns it into aluminum oxide and liberates hydrogen, so you only need to replenish the water and clean away the gunk. (BTW, you can fill a party balloon with hydrogen from a beer can, instead of wasting helium.)
Steve's panels were a failure because the sandwich panels we mounted them on let them heat up too much in the sun. That aluminum backing is for cooling, and must be exposed to air or equivalent. With improved cooling, you can probably double your output with mirrors fairly easily.

Last edited by Bicycle Bob; 05-16-16 at 11:17 PM.. Reason: Unsafe practice deleted.
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Old 05-24-16, 04:54 AM   #8
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What part is good for the environment?
The non renewable rare earth elements, where the mining creates an equal amount of leftover radioactive waste?
All the energy used to make them?
All the petroleum products that go into them?
How they are shipped over here from china in diesel powered container ships?
Or the fact that they are mostly non-recyclable?
Me personally, since I don't care about any of that, I love my solar panels.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:03 PM   #9
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How are the solar panels going to produce power at night?
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Old 07-09-16, 10:06 PM   #10
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Default Renogy semi-flexible

I just got through testing a Renogy 100w semi-flex for about 10 days. Just the one panel, a Victron 15A MPPT controller, and a 420AH battery set that had enough load on it to always accept bulk. The panel had been sitting around for a year, but was unused. Daytime temps ranged from 70F to 90F, full sun with occasional thin haze.

The maximum output I saw was 80w, but the daily take was a little over 500wh, which means that they produced well on either side of Noon. Admittedly, it was the middle of Summer!

I spoke with Renogy, and they said that they are re-engineering these, and the new version will be available before the end of 2016. The old ones are not available right now.

Go Power has panels that look identical, but cost almost twice as much. Unfortunately, haven't found one of those to borrow.

So I'm a little disappointed that I never saw the 92w-95w that I was hoping for, but they're not junk, either. For an RV or boat, they certainly fit the bill, but for stationary use I don't see the point. One good thing is that they are so thin that they stow well, and can be put into use for temporary needs.

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