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Old 04-21-2014, 04:01 PM   #1
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Posts: 94
Default flexible solar panel verses regular solar cells

i was wondering what the mods thought about flexible solar cell panels verses regular ones .
I like the idea of low profile (more theft proof , especially in some bigger cities and even anywhere any more where more theft of anything is going on) solar cells .

here is a you tube video link showing them being installed by a person on a van top , it says they produce 68 watts , I guess that's each strip? if that's the case that sounds like a lot of watts produced .
any idea's about using something like this for a stealth van . ?
I have seen the wire ran "hidden" better but this guy did it the easiest way for him .



[youtube:29ggh9a0]HpHgfVDlLkQ[/youtube:29ggh9a0]

here is some on e bay
http://www.ebay.com/itm/128-WATT-FLEXIB ... 416c85ea8d

Uni-solar Warranty
5 Year on Materials and Workmanship 10 Years Power Output Warranty of 92%
10 Years Power Output Warranty of 84% 5 Years Power Output Warranty of 80 %
Total of 20 Years Performance Warranty
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:57 PM   #2
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Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,064
Default Re: flexible solar panel verses regular solar cells

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightspeed
i was wondering what the mods thought about flexible solar cell panels verses regular ones .
I like the idea of low profile (more theft proof , especially in some bigger cities and even anywhere any more where more theft of anything is going on) solar cells .

here is a you tube video link showing them being installed by a person on a van top , it says they produce 68 watts , I guess that's each strip? if that's the case that sounds like a lot of watts produced .
any idea's about using something like this for a stealth van . ?
I have seen the wire ran "hidden" better but this guy did it the easiest way for him .



here is some on e bay
http://www.ebay.com/itm/128-WATT-FLEXIB ... 416c85ea8d

Uni-solar Warranty
5 Year on Materials and Workmanship 10 Years Power Output Warranty of 92%
10 Years Power Output Warranty of 84% 5 Years Power Output Warranty of 80 %
Total of 20 Years Performance Warranty
We looked at them before we did our standard panels. They tend to be pretty long, and you have to have relatively flat, long area for them. You can't cut them or turn corners. They just wouldn't fit on our 07 C190P Roadtrek, so we didn't get any further. They also are said to not be as good as the newer monocrystaline units on cloudy days, but I haven't seen any real testing on that.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:40 PM   #3
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Posts: 300
Default Re: flexible solar panel verses regular solar cells

The ones on eBay are 18 feet long, and has been said before, they can't be cut, shaped or molded to fit bumps or ridges on a vehicle roof. Some of the ones I've seen have adhesive on the back and some don't. Some have velcro and some are 9 or 12 feet long. They all need flat, unobstructed space on a roof. The "stealth" installation shown on YouTube has some pretty obvious wiring that would get someone's attention, even before they looked on the roof.

The flexible ones have some other disadvantages. If you glue them on to the roof, they can't be easily replaced if something goes wrong. If you glue them to a piece of wood in order to mount them, then there's no advantage to a flexible panel. If you just roll them out when you need them, you'll need a very long space that's not shaded by trees or vehicles for it to work. That means that it probably can't be laid out on the ground. Anyway, if you laid it on the ground, Murphy's law says that someone would step on it and a small rock under the panel would poke through the panel's surface. Since they have wiring inside the panel, a small hole could make the entire thing useless. If you found a surface above the ground, a thin, lightweight long object would probably get blown away by a small breeze. Glued flexible ones also can't be easily replaced when newer, higher power and lower cost panels come out like they do each year (solar technology moves as fast as computer technology).

I figured that the ones with Velcro might be a little better if you removed the panel when you're not using it. The only problem with Velcro on a roof is that it would quickly get dirty and dirty Velcro doesn't hold that well to itself.

Once I figured all that out, I had to face the fact that the amount of vehicle roof space I had was fixed unless I won the lottery. The amount of space that didn't have obstructions like vents, bumps or other things reduced that available space. With those restrictions, I did some math and compared a bunch of solar panels by watts per square foot. All of the flexible, foldable or rollable panels that I found came out at the bottom. The standard flat ones did much, much better.

If you're worried about theft, get mounts that keep the panels low to the roof and get a professional to hide the wiring properly. Also, Google "security bolts." They won't stop a determined thief with lots of time but they will slow someone down long enough to make them obvious or to have them change their mind.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: flexible solar panel verses regular solar cells

I have heard of reliability issues.
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