Flexible Solar Panels? - Page 2 - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 06:21:PM
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Most flexible panels that are currently available are what I call first generation panels. They have some history, but unfortunately one full of cupping, scratching and early deterioration. The flexibility has been overstated and there have been serious issues with delamination.
The second and latest generation of panels are made with ETFE laminates on fiberglass or aluminum background with back-contact cells with some of the highest efficiencies around 23%. They should be much studier and should deal better with shading as well, yet have virtually no trackable history and prices start at about $2.30 per watt.
Real advances are being made in solar cell technology and lithium batteries are becoming more commonplace too!

Van Williams
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 12:13:AM
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shopping for flexible solar panels.

i could use some recommendations.

these are the only ones i have seen that is 125W: 120W Marine use waterproof flexible photovoltaic module for yacht, boat, Vehicle,motorhome

all of the rest are 100W - 125 would be great because of space considerations.

thanks!
That's a great price. I got mine off Amazon for about $180 apiece.

I mounted mine directly to my roof with double-backed tape. May not be optimal, but it works for me, and keeps my fridge topped off. Little to no airflow underneath mine.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 01:07:AM
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I put two 100W flexible panels on my roof. They work great (so far) and put out up to around 11.3 amps in full sun. I taped them down with 3M VHB and a strip of eternabond on the front edges over the electrical boxes. Super slim profile--can't see them unless you get elevated above the van. I dread ever having to remove them if the fail as the tapes are pretty permanent from all I've read. They do have a bit of airflow underneath (1/16th-1/8th in places) and they have proven to slightly insulate the roof on cold nights-curiously enough. Cheap, lightweight, and effective.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 02:24:PM
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I agree with rene 12341 lensunsolar has a well rated 100watt panel that is flexible. My plan is to mount 2 panels
on the front curved roof of my 350 mid roof rig. These panels have aluminum backing which should dissipate heat
nicely. I contacted Abby at lensunsolar for a full kit price with 2 panels, a 20amp thought regulator and wiring, she gave me
a kit price of $598, not bad. I plan on a full roof rack for kayaks etc so this looks like the best use of space to me.
gopower also has a kit that is rated well but is twice the price for very similar products.
This will be a 12v system charging a 200ah deep cycle solar battery.
As you can see by my other replies and posts I am just getting started on my conversion.
I also thought it might be of interest that I purchased a Whynter fm-62dz dual zone fridge
for this project with its low power draw and reasonable price I think it is a good choice and
after testing this unit I am quite pleased.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 02:33:PM
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Johnnydanger should you ever have to remove them from the 3m vhb just slide heavy test fishing line behind them and it will cut thru the tape.
I own a sign and graphic shop and this is a common practice. For the length you would have to cut it would be advisable to attach a dowel to each end
to aid in pulling it or the line may cut into your hands.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 04:06:PM
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Johnnydanger should you ever have to remove them from the 3m vhb just slide heavy test fishing line behind them and it will cut thru the tape.
I own a sign and graphic shop and this is a common practice. For the length you would have to cut it would be advisable to attach a dowel to each end
to aid in pulling it or the line may cut into your hands.
Thanks for the tip! My complete kit is:

2 x 100W HQST flexible panels
Renogy Adventurer Solar Controller
Extra wiring and connectors
Eternabond
VHB

All bought off Amazon and cost about $550 total.

The plastic caps in the roof behind the front seats are perfect to drill 2 wire sized holes in to connect to the solar charger. It's elevated which is good in case the dollop of Dicor on the wire holes ever leaked, and the holes are super small and don't require and modification of the roof sheet metal.
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 06:43:PM
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how much VHB coverage is needed to hold panel ?

have been thinking about using flexible panels
and was thinking of placing strips of foam insulation
running lengthwise to create cooling air channels
and to insulate panels from van some -
van is hot enough already -
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 06:49:PM
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Almost none. I used seven 1x3/4" pieces of VHB. Three on the front edge, one on each side, and 2 in the rear corners—if memory serves. In hot weather I didn't notice any overheating of the panels causing lower performance, though I imagine it could be possible in hot climates. The heat of the panels does warm up the ceiling of the van though, so if you weren't running an insulated ceiling it would make sense to put some sort of heat reflective barrier in an air space between the panels and the roof skin. Note that panels do get toasty so foam insulation would only be suitable if it was able to stand up to high temps. The way I look at it, my roof acts as a panel heat sink!
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 07:58:PM
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Some of the newer back contact ETF panels come with a metal background. This will reduce overheating.

Van Williams

Replace(d) my old Dodge B-250 with a new Ford Tansit-250 LWB Medium Roof and convert it into a full-fledge RV with ultimately all amenities imaginable!


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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 09:03:PM
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Some of the newer back contact ETF panels come with a metal background. This will reduce overheating.

Van Williams
The newest Sun Power panels are copper backed. They haven't hit Amazon yet. The Eclipse 100 watt panels are there, Renogy sells those. I've got 3 of those and a Victron 100/50 mppt controller sitting in my cart on amazon. Thought a lot about flexible panels but I didn't see the quality that I think I want. If you read up on them, they're only supposed to be bent in one direction.
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