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Old 06-02-2014, 10:41   #1
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Dumb question about Solbian panels?

So I am probably proving my ignorance here, but what is so special about Solbian flexible panels. There are a bunch of posts with people excited about them.

Haven't flexible panels been around a while?
POWERFILM Flexible Solar Panels at West Marine
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:57   #2
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

The Solbian's are semi-flexible panels using solid crystalline silicon cells (reportedly Sunpower cells - the most efficient on the planet) with a conversion efficiency around 22.5%.

For the Powerfilm film products the efficiency is much lower. Their 42W panel is 1.5m x 0.66m. The Solbian SP 137W panel is 1.5m x .55m. So, with the Solbian you get 3x power production in a slightly smaller footprint.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:58   #3
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

There you go, I said it was a dumb question =P

Thanks for the clarification!
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Old 06-02-2014, 13:59   #4
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

Aurinco has 22.5% efficiency as well.

Panels are made in Anacortes WA.

Aurinco solar panels
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Old 06-02-2014, 14:17   #5
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

The old standard flexible panels usually consisted of amorphous silicon (although some were other thin film types) that, on a good day, has a conversion efficiency around 10%. The newer panels (Solbian, Aurinco, a few others) are using solid monocrystalline silicon cells with > 20% efficiency.

With the amorphous silicon the material itself is relatively flexible, you can roll them up at will. With these newer panels the cells themselves are not flexible, they are mounted on a flexible substrate, so they are more like a segmented panel than a truly flexible one. If they will be stepped on, for instance, they need full support underneath, otherwise the discrete cells can be cracked. They do not roll quite as small. They also produce a lot more power. Those are the trade-offs.
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Old 06-02-2014, 14:21   #6
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

I'm not knocking Solbian, but the Chinese made semi-flexible panels are a fraction of the cost and claim the same efficiency. I recently mounted 200W to my bimini for long term testing before I go cruising in a few years. They are very well made and so far the output has been as advertised.
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Old 06-02-2014, 14:30   #7
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Aurinco has 22.5% efficiency as well.

Panels are made in Anacortes WA.

Aurinco solar panels
Interesting, those are also sunpower cells in the compact+ versions
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Old 06-02-2014, 14:39   #8
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jseas View Post
I'm not knocking Solbian, but the Chinese made semi-flexible panels are a fraction of the cost and claim the same efficiency. I recently mounted 200W to my bimini for long term testing before I go cruising in a few years. They are very well made and so far the output has been as advertised.
Which ebay vendor did you get them from?
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:11   #9
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

Discountsolar. $129 for 50w panel.
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:13   #10
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

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Old 06-02-2014, 17:46   #11
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

Quote:
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Discountsolar. $129 for 50w panel.
lol

"CLOSED April thru September"

Methinks he is playing hookey on a boat somewhere!
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:32   #12
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

For anyone interested, I also took the plunge and got some chinese panels:
Review of Cheap Chinese Alternative to Solbian Flexible Solar Panels
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:08   #13
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Re: Dumb question about Solbian panels?

Yup those are the same ones I've been testing. So far so good.
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