If you’re planning to go on an outdoor adventure with your friends or family, you might want to get a power source for your gadgets and appliances. Therefore, it would be best to get a flexible solar panel, especially if you need portable power for hiking, camping, cycling, climbing, and kayaking.
Flexible solar panels are recommendable for such applications because they are bendable at a certain angle due to their malleable designs.
What to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Flexible Solar Panel
In the modern-day, energy supply is a quite huge subject. And since we have noted that most people get confused when looking for a tractable solar panel for their home, we have highlighted a few essential factors to consider next time you shop.
Energy is a critical feature that you should check before purchasing the ideal solar panel. While the power output may vary from one flexible solar panel to another, the higher the wattage, the better, as you can plug in more devices for a longer period.
If you want to buy a solar panel for your trailer or camper van, first find out the amount of energy you need. You can start by determining the number of solar panels you will require.
While boats require a 100W flexible solar panel, RVs or off-rigid cottages might need between 200 to 300- watt products. In short, a 400W solar system is more than enough for your camper van.
In this case, efficiency refers to how fast a model can convert sunlight into energy. So, the best flexible solar panel should be able to charge fast and proficiently. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the road in your RV or on steady sheds; your solar system needs to gather sunlight sufficiently to keep your devices and gadgets up and running.
Just like power supply, efficiency varies from one model of a solar panel to another. However, most unit ranges from 10% to 25%. The greater the percentage, the faster your device will generate energy from the sun. But that shouldn’t be a big concern because most flexible models provide impressive efficiency.
A flexible solar panel should not be complex to install- such models are super easy to set up because they come with pre-drilled mounting holes. Also, they include tools like a drill bit kit, hand drill, wrench, and a sealant to make the installation process a breeze. However, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you get stuck.
Before you shop for a flexible solar panel, ask yourself what you will be using it for. Are you an RV enthusiast, and you need it for your van’s roof, or you’re a camper and want one for your tent? It would be best if you had a solar panel that would meet your needs.
For instance, if you drive a travel trailer, especially through desert-like areas, you might want to buy a solar panel that can withstand high temperatures. A model that uses amorphous cells will perfectly suit you because it can perform better in extremely hot environments.
Durability and material
It is important to consider the quality of material construction if you want your flexible solar panel to serve you for several years. Material quality goes hand in hand with durability, so make good use of your money.
You’ll find that a durable solar panel is built with resilient plastic to ensure the solar cells are not filled with moisture and dust.
Most flexible solar panels are built with ETFE plastic, a standard material to provides better light transmission and durability than other cheaper alternatives like PTE and PET. Also, bear in mind that a crystalline solar panel is much tougher than a solar panel constructed with thin-film technology.
Considering the model’s versatility is important as well. Most flexible solar panels have wide application areas and are already versatile, but always ensure your model is more versatile. For instance, you can install ultra-flexible panels nearly anywhere due to their stable construction. They will never disappoint you in any situation, even when you’re on the go.
Similarly, a waterproof solar panel allows you to use them in moist/wet conditions-meaning even heavy rainfall cannot damage your model’s sensitive electronics. So, choose a versatile product.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
In which conditions are flexible solar panels most useful?
Since flexible solar panels are a great way to generate energy from the sun, they are most applicable when you need power traveling, for instance, on your boat or RV. If you need lightweight and portable power, and you love camping, you might consider buying flexible solar panels.
What is the average weight of a flexible panel?
It is a bit tricky to answer this question because there are several factors to consider. However, we can tell you that flexible panels are 75% lighter on average than their rigid counterparts. For instance, you may find a 100W stiff panel with a weight between 16-20 pounds.
On the contrary, a panel with the exact power abilities may weigh only 4 to 5 pounds. Hence, if you want a lightweight solution, this is a substantial factor to consider.
How to set up flexible solar panels?
You can mount your bendable solar panel in several ways, but we’ll discuss the most common one, using racks. To do this successfully, gather the parts, attach the arms and the mount, and then by screwing, attach the pole mount. Once you have done that, find the right angle, where the solar panel can face the sun, and then connect other equipment like the batteries.
How to utilize flexible solar panels?
Once you are done assembling, wiring, and mounting your solar panel successfully, you might get stuck on where to start. The usage is not complicated because it works just like a regular solar panel.
You can use it to charge your smartphone, electronic devices, and other gadgets that you might need while traveling. However, flexible solar panels are more adaptable as you can place them on any material of a surface.
Do flexible solar panels require maintenance?
For a bendable solar panel to provide a better experience to you, your family members, and friends, regular cleaning is essential. But when doing that, you need to be extra careful to avoid damage. You can do the cleaning using fresh water and a soft cloth to wipe off dust particles, dirt stains, and bird droppings. In case you come across a stubborn stain, use a soft-bristled brush to remove it.
When done cleaning, remember to dry the surface using a dry cloth and check whether the system functions properly.
Flexible Solar Panel Reviews
1. ALLPOWERS 100W Flexible Solar Panel
There are several reasons you should consider getting ALLPOWERS Solar Panel 100W. It is incredibly simple to fold, store, transport, and install. Although this panel is a little bit smaller than other conventional units, you’ll benefit from its remarkable power efficiency as it requires less light to charge items.
We are not experts, but we found this solar panel pretty easy to install, probably because there are pre-drilled holes at the back of the panel, making mounting and securing effortless. You can also use adhesive, grommets, Velcro, or zip ties to do the installation, which is more convenient and generous, especially if you’re on a budget.
When it comes to durability, ALLPOWERS Solar Panel 100W is an excellent choice due to its water-resistance feature. The unit comes with a waterproof and sealed junction box, making it far more durable compared to other traditional aluminum and glass models. That aside, the panel’s material is flexible enough to store in congested areas.
Another great thing to acknowledge is this unit’s power proficiency despite its lightweight design. It weighs only 4.7 pounds but supplies 100W of power to charge 12v lead-acid cells and other gadgets. It’s probably light due to the unique frameless design that takes less of your time to hang and remove.
Moreover, this bendable panel is constructed with a plastic back sheet that can curve to a maximum of 30-degree arc. Therefore, you can mount it on your RV, cabin, boat, car, tent, trailer, truck, or any other uneven surface without the worry of causing damage.
A few things we found disappointing are its high price compared to other flexible solar panels and the fact that it does not include bypass diodes. So, the panel might drop its power by 0.1A or so if one corner is not fully exposed to the sun.
Apart from the mentioned few flaws, this unit is generally good for its worth. The power is efficient to charge most of your items; its bendable design can accommodate most applications; installation is a blink of an eye because it already has pre-drilled holes at the back of the panel.
- Quick mounting and securing- the back of the panel has pre-drilled holes and bends up to 30 degrees
- Has a waterproof construction- for durability and longevity
- Powerful- it packs up to 100W of power
- Accommodates most applications- including those with irregular surfaces like RVs, tents, and trailers.
- Highly efficient- with up to 23.5%
- A bit expensive- compared to other solar panels
- Does not include bypass diodes- so in the case of shapes, there might be a drop in current
2. WindyNation 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel for RV
When you are buying a solar panel, it is crucial to consider one that will accommodate your camper van’s irregular shape or unconventional house. Therefore, if you need a bendable solar panel to charge some of your gadgets or devices with renewable energy, WindyNation is the ideal choice.
One thing that we like about this model is its ability to resist water. The design is waterproof, making it suitable for outdoor use in any kind of weather condition. Solar panels that are not water-resistant tend to short circuit pretty fast when it rains. However, with this feature, we believe WindyNation will not malfunction if it is exposed to water.
When it comes to installation, we’re genuinely pleased to inform you that mounting the panel is a breeze. It comes with an instructional manual for you to install effortlessly. Not to mention, you won’t spend more money buying mounting frames.
Another noteworthy feature is that WindyNation 100W is exceptionally lightweight and efficient. Approximately, it is only 4 pounds and uses highly efficient monocrystalline solar batteries. The solar panel is manageable and easy to transport, making it the right choice for mobile applications.
Our other favorite feature is the blocking diode, which comes in the junction box to prevent battery draining/discharge at night. During sunny days it normalizes electricity flow and eliminates battery overcharging. We find this feature quite essential because it ensures your safety and the items in your house or RV.
On the downside, we don’t like the fact that this model is not built with an air gap between the panel and the mounting surface. It overheats quickly, even on cloudy days. It would be great if the manufacturer reconstructed it with a raised mount.
Taking everything into consideration, we can say that WindyNation is among the best flexible panels that any camp van owner can find useful. It is lightweight, semi-flexible, and water-resistant. Also, the blocking diode feature protects the batteries against overcharging and draining.
- Extremely lightweight- making it easy to transport and mount
- Has a blocking diode- to prevent a battery from draining or overcharging
- Water-resistant- great for outdoor use, especially during heavy days
- Requires simple installation-comes with instructions
- Semi-flexible- you can bend the panel to a maximum of 30 degrees.
- Overheats quickly- due to the lack of an air gap between the mounting top and the panel
- Average efficiency- compared to other bendable solar panels
3. RICH SOLAR 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
Flexible solar panels have become very hardy and helpful in the recent past. We have seen these panels installed on RVs, boats, tents, huts, and other irregular surfaces. One of the flexible solar panels we have liked is this unit from RICH SOLAR.
The main feature we like about this particular panel is that it can be bent up to 30 degrees. By bending the panel, you will be able to ensure it fits perfected on the irregular surface. You do not need any tool to bend the panel, and therefore, you can install it without anyone’s help.
You can also use this particular flexible solar panel to charge an assortment of batteries. Its design gives you the ability to charge 12V lithium or 12V lead-acid batteries, among other similar batteries. All this is facilitated by the impressive maximum power of 100W and maximum power in terms of the voltage of 18.7V.
After checking further, we realized that the inbuilt panels are made using monocrystalline silicon. With these panels, you can be assured that the unit will provide you with the power you need. These panels also guarantee durability, where the unit can serve you diligently for up to 25 years.
The outer body of this flexible solar panel has been upgraded using advanced ETFE lamination. The lamination can attract and trap more usable heat to the panel. You will enjoy the enhanced performance even during the days when there is no sunshine since the panel will effectively trap heat from the atmosphere.
Even though this panel from RICH SOLAR has some striking features, we could not help but notice that it is a bit bulky. You might require more storage space in case you need to store the panel. We also noticed that it is extra fragile where it can break easily if not handled carefully.
The few issues with this flexible solar panel do not in any way affect its excellent performance. You will get optimum value for every cent you spend purchasing hit panes. We confidently say that this solar panel is an excellent purchase for anyone who might need power reliability and flexibility.
- Very durable where it can last up to 25 years
- Lightweight design
- Corrosion resistance design
- Recyclable materials to conserve the environment
- High transparency to ultra-violet light
- Bulkier than most similar models
- Flexible to only 30 degrees
4. Tp-solar 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
A flexible solar panel can be the gateway to your power freedom. With a flexible solar panel such as Tp-solar panel, you can have the power you need even when on the go. You can mount the panel even on your moving objects such as trucks and boats. We took a close look to know the specific features of the Tp-solar flexible solar panel.
One of the features you can enjoy on this panel is that you can charge almost any 12V battery you have. You can even combine multiple panels to charge 24.48V batteries by wiring the panels together. The only thing you need is a controller to provide the battery with the necessary protection.
We also appreciate that the panel has a bendability of up to 30 degrees. It can be bent in an arc to be mounted on cabins, trucks, trailers, motorhomes, or any other place that might require a bent solar panel. The bending is regulated to ensure the panel will not break.
It has enhanced conversion efficiency. We identified the modern back contract technology as the facilitator of enhanced efficiency. The technology enhances efficiency by up to 50% by removing electrodes from the solar cells’ surface to let the cells absorb sunshine more efficiently.
You also get to enjoy top-quality power output when using this panel. It is designed to produce a maximum of 100 watts, which is enough for everyday use. The only thing you need is to ensure you install and maintain the unit properly for enhanced performance.
Out of the many positive attributes of this panel, we only found a few flaws. One of the flaws is that the panel can easily get damaged if it comes into contact with sharp objects. Its plastic coating is also a bit thinner compared to other flexible solar panels.
Our analysis of the Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel concludes that it is a solar worth buying. With all the many positive features, you can be assured of reliability and unmatched performance.
- Comes with 36 inches of solar cable, making it ready to be installed
- Solar cells made with silicon are super-efficient
- Can be connected to charge bigger batteries
- Power output is greatly enhanced
- Lightweight with a total weight of 3.72 LBS
- Made with waterproof materials
- Can break if slightly over-stretched
- A person without the necessary tools might find it challenging to install the unit
5. Winnewsun 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
We consider certain things when looking for the right solar panel, and one of them is efficiency. You want a solar panel that will give you optimum efficiency without failure. The Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel has proved to be reliable, and as a result, we took the time to check it out.
We like Winnewsun’s bifacial design as it facilitates efficiency. The design allows both sides of the panel to generate power. You are assured of getting more power at no additional cost and for more extended periods. The new technology also lets the panel trap more sunlight than ordinary panels.
Stability when it comes to performance is another attribute we like about this panel. Over ten years, it experienced a power loss of only 3%. Ten years after you purchase this panel, you shall be able to still enjoy a high-quality performance at all times, therefore saving you from the trouble of getting a replacement.
The solar panels making up this unit have been upgraded to facilitate efficiency in power absorption. These panels have a 22% better power efficiency than the standard flexible solar panels found in the market. With improved efficiency, you can be assured that you will have a reliable power source at all times.
Besides the flexibility of the panel, it is also very portable. Its total weight is just 4 lbs, which gives you the freedom to carry it around while going for outdoor activities. The portability is further enhanced because it is made using light but rigid materials that are carefully selected.
However, it is worth noting that some aspects might require improvement, even with the many good attributes on this panel. Such an aspect is the fact that the panel does not reach the 100 W indicated. It is also worth noting that the bifacial feature requires the panel to be positioned at certain angles.
Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel qualifies to be rated amongst the top flexible solar panels despite a few flaws. The fact that it has a bifacial design makes it stand out compared with most of the other models found in the market. We believe by purchasing this unit, you will be using your money wisely.
- Both sides can absorb power.
- A sleek and flexible design
- Made with light but strong materials
- Can produce power even when there is minimal sunlight
- You can install it without any additional tools.
- Stays active for more than twenty years
- If broken, it is almost impossible to repair.
- Cannot be used in relatively bigger batteries
6. XINPUGUANG 100W Flexible Solar Panel
Reliable is the best word that we can use to describe this flexible solar panel from XINPUGUANG. The main reason why the panel is regarded as reliable is that it will be there when you need it most. With different well-articulated features, you can be assured that you will give value for what you spend.
Some of the main features we noted on this panel include a plastic back sheet, which allows the panel to curve easily according to your needs and requirements. You can be assured there is no glass on any part of the panel, and as a result, possibilities of breakage are significantly minimized.
You will also like the ultra-light and ultra-thin design of this panel from XINPUGUANG. Even when you need more power, you can carry several pieces of this panel without breaking a sweat. You can also go with the panel to the roof of your cabin for installation without struggling.
Your safety and the safety of your appliances have also been considered in the design of this panel. It comes with a bypass diode, over-current protection, and reverse protection. These protection measures are meant to assure safe usage regardless of the appliances you are using or the kind of battery you are charging.
When it comes to power output, you can be assured that you are in safe hands using this flexible solar panel. Its power output is rated at 100W, with the maximum power current being 5.55A. The power output should be enough to power an ordinary device you might have.
We like most of the features on this flexible panel except for the fact that it does not last that long. If there is no sun for several days, the panel will not provide the necessary power. We also noted that the unit requires more specialized care because it is fragile.
Even with a few issues, we can confidently say that this flexible solar panel from XINPUGUANG is rightfully rated among the best. Purchasing this panel allows you to enjoy reliable power even when in remote places.
- Almost anyone can do the installation
- A plastic back to facilitate easier bending
- Ultra-light and ultra-thin
- Does not require regular cleaning
- Comes with safety attributes
- It is made by one of the most respected companies in the solar power industry
- It requires regular sunshine to continue working
- Cannot charge certain types of batteries
7. SunPower 50 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
SolarPower has, over the years, been able to establish itself as one of the global leaders when it comes to solar technology. The company has been making top quality products since 1985, with one of its best products being the SunPower 50 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline High Efficiency Solar Panel.
Among the primary features we like about this top-shelf product is having super-efficient panels. The efficiency of these panels is 23.5% higher compared to the standard models. With the increased efficiency, the panels can absorb more power in less time. Your battery charges faster and you are sure of adequate power even during cloudy days.
We are also impressed by the size of this flexible solar panel. Its dimensions are 25.5 inches by 21.9 inches by 0.8 inches. These are perfect dimensions for portability since you can carry the entire unit easily. The size does not affect the performance of the unit where it performs better than other bigger models.
IP67 waterproof certification is another attribute we love about this panel. You do not have to worry that your panel will get damaged by rainfall or any form of wetness. The waterproof feature is especially helpful when it comes to the micro junction box, which is one of the most delicate components of the entire unit.
When it comes to mounting and installing this flexible solar panel from SunPower, you will not struggle. When you purchase this unit, you get a detailed but easy to understand user guide to help you install it correctly. The fact that it is flexible allows you to install it even on uneven surfaces.
Even though most of the features on this solar panel are outstanding, we are a little disappointed that it is made mostly with fragile materials. These materials prove the necessary durability. But if the panel is accidentally dropped on the ground, some of the components are likely break. SunPower would have done a better job by using tougher materials, especially on the housing.
After carefully analyzing all the features of this flexible solar panel, we confidently say it is among the best options. Most of its features are meant to let you enjoy reliable power without having to increase your power bills.
- The flexible design provides more options when it comes to installation
- IP67 waterproof certified
- A portable design to allow simple transportation
- High-efficiency solar panels
- Made by one of the most respected solar products company
- Can break easily if accidentally dropped
- It is challenging to absorb power during the wet seasons
After analyzing the top flexible solar panels, we have settled on ALLPOWERS Flexible Solar Panel as the best among the others. The bifacial feature makes this panel outstanding because it facilitates the absorption of more power. Minimized power loss over a long period further makes this solar panel outstanding.
We were also quick to note that this flexible solar panel from ALLPOWERS requires almost zero maintenance and care. Consequently, even though the other six flexible solar panels have top quality and modern features, the ALLPOWERS Flexible Solar Panel Bifacial Flexible Solar Panel stands out.