Product Review: Flexible Solar Panels

The person who wants a DIY Solar project should be interested in flexible solar panels. This is a product review of one type of flexible solar panel. These are perfect for the person who has some knowledge of renewable power and has a plan.

These panels have the following features:

* Virtually unbreakable due to no glass

* Encapsulated in UV-stabilized polymers, includes EVA and the fluoropolymer ETFE

* Easy peel & stick application with microbial inhibitor

* Bypass diodes are connected across each cell

* Shadow & high heat tolerant

* High temperature and low light performance

* Quick-connect terminals

They come in a variety of watts and they have different physical dimensions. For example, the 124 Watt panels is Length: 5486 mm (216″)x Width: 394 mm (15.5″)x Depth: 4 mm (0.2″), 16 mm (0.6″) including potted terminal housing assembly Actual Weight: 17 lbs.

These flexible solar panels are designed to work in high temperature and low light yet still deliver on energy. They have quick-connect terminals and adhesive backing with bypass Diodes for shadow tolerance. The adhesive is an Ethylene propylene copolymer adhesive sealant with microbial inhibitor. As you can see below under application criteria, these products have been approved for substrates that include certain membrane and metal roofing products.

The Performance Characteristics:

  • Rated Power (Pmax): 68 Wp
  • Production Pmax Tolerance: ± 5 %
  • Construction Characteristics
  • 16 mm (0.6″) including potted terminal housing assembly
  • Output Cables: 4 mm2 (12 AWG) cable with weatherproof DC-rated quick-connect terminals 560 mm (22″) length
  • Bypass Diodes: Connected across every solar cell
  • Encapsulation: Durable ETFE high light-transmissive polymer
  • Adhesive: Ethylene propylene copolymer adhesive sealant with microbial inhibitor
  • Cell Type: 11 triple junction amorphous silicon solar cells 356 mm x 239 mm (14″ x 9.4″) connected in series
  • Laminate Standard Configuration
  • Photovoltaic laminate with potted terminal housing assembly with output cables and quick-connect terminals on top.

Application Criteria

  • Installation temperature between 10 °C – 40 °C (50 °F – 100 °F)
  • Maximum roof temperature 85 °C (185 °F)
  • Minimum slope: 3° (1/2:12)
  • Maximum slope 60° (21:12)
  • Approved substrates include certain membrane and metal roofing products

Flexible solar panels work on the same principles as a framed photovoltaic cell. A special manufacturing process that is called “thin film deposition” makes them flexible. These panels are a layer of silicon applied to a thin film panel that is only micrometers thick. This way, when it is applied to a roof or similar substrate the silicon will flex or bend.

One advantage to this manufacturing process is it creates rolls of solar panels. The manufacture can then cut these into smaller pieces for sale as panels. The customer can buy what they need based on the power output desired. It allows suppliers to sell these panels in a variety of diy solar kits. It is also easier to install these panels since you can just roll them out, hook them together and hook them into batteries for storage or an output source.

Thin film flexible solar panels are lighter than mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline solar panels. That makes them better for installing on roofs and it makes them ideal for portable solar applications. Many portable solar battery chargers use flexible solar panels.

These flexible panels are a great way to build that diy solar project you have in mind. There are plenty of places today to get plans for putting solar panels on your roof or even make a smaller project for a solar water heater or solar swimming pool heater.

Source by Jeffrey Riley