Flexible Solar Panels? - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 03:30:PM Thread Starter
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Flexible Solar Panels?

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!

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 04:57:PM
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Those are cheap plastic and scratch, warp and discolor easily. I have been researching this for a couple months and also want good flexible solar panels.

This is the best you can buy. http://www.lensunsolar.com/Flexible-...otorhome,boats

Check out some online reviews that show the difference between the cheap vs quality panels.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 04:59:PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. yeah, the price is suspiciously low.

i say these online, 125W but really pricey.

It would be nice to find some that are higher than 100W because of the space considerations.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 05:17:PM
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I agree, but the only time I find higher than 100 watts it is always a suspicious Chinese seller so I don't really believe the claims.

I am putting on 6 panels and it basically covers the whole roof.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 06:36:PM
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a rather long thread, a forum members full flexible panel install, the system may be a little big for you needs but maybe it will give you some ideas: Solar Panels - Flexible vs. Rigid
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 08:32:PM
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From many years ago when I was NABCEP certified, the issue with flexible panels was heat. Heat reduces efficiency, a lot. Mounting a PV module (laymen call it a "panel") directly on a surface so that air cannot get under it to help keep it cool can cut efficiency up to half in warm weather. The dream of making modules that would conform to surfaces, such as a boat deck or van roof, was hampered by this achilles heel. There have been PV roof shingles for at least a decade, and they are getting better. Maybe recent flexible modules have advanced enough that heat isn't as big an issue?

With modules, wattage claims are always made under ideal conditions. You can cut that claim by 30-40% to get expected real-world results.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 09:07:PM Thread Starter
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Thanks i am going to mount them to a roof rack so they will have air flow underneath. i figure that will keep the van cooler too.

and mount them with a hinge so that they can be tilted towards the sun in the morning and/or afternoon.

that's why i want the flexible ones, so that i could occasionally put light cargo on top or just sit up there and watch the sunset

i was thinking i could mount one of the panels so that it sticks out front a bit over the front windshield. maybe slanted down a bit. that one could be rigid. i keep imagining it wobbling in the wind while driving, but maybe that is just my vivid imagination.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 10:06:PM
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It depends on what your idea of "occasionally" is.
I see a lot of van solar systems where they put two modules toward the front or rear, and leave the other half of the roof available for cargo. Getting a full length platform and mounting rigid modules to the fore, aft, or even along one side in/on the platform increases your options. Most people load cargo either from the rear or passenger side, so putting the modules (2 fit nicely) side by side in the front or end to end on the driver side seems to make the most sense.

I think I'm confused by your description of "flexible" modules, when I hear that I think of the ones that can be rolled up into a cylinder. A flexible module would be difficult to use on a moving vehicle unless it was firmly attached at all points to a rigid surface; and then you have a rigid module.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 10:24:PM Thread Starter
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it seems they call "flexible" any panel that is not glass. i don't really need one that is flexible, but would like to avoid glass.

yeah, if I can get enough juice out of two panels and mount them forward that would be nice. but i might have to walk to the front to tie down my kayak, which is 10 feet long. and that would be for short trips between the take out and a place to rinse it off. i don't want to put a dirty kayak inside the van.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 10:44:PM
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End to end would be ideal, then. The whole roof platform is kind of spendy, but alternatively it would be easy enough to mount modules on racks with room for the kayak alongside. But with a full roof platform you can put campchairs up there and watch whatever while sipping whatever.
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