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Old 28-04-2011, 09:43   #16
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations???

There is a new type of semi flexible panel out there I have seen. It uses sheet aluminum, and laminates the mono cells right on the aluminum. There is some type of encapsulation material as a coating over the cells. Anyone care to comment on these? I am sure that they are more affected by heat then traditional frame mounted panels but not sure how much this will be a factor.

Their pluses as I see them would be potential ease in mounting, and weight/windage savings. To mount, you could simply drill through the aluminum outside of the cells footprint.

To see what I mean, search for flexible solar panel on ebay. There is another company selling this type to the marine market as well.

Chris
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Old 28-04-2011, 10:58   #17
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations???

The A / buck looks horribly off. At least if you buy them here in EU.

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Old 28-04-2011, 12:33   #18
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations???

The A / buck is not as good, but if all you've got is a place which has to be walked on, you don't really have a choice.
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Old 28-04-2011, 14:38   #19
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
The comment about rigid celss being dependant on direct sunlight explains alot. My flexis worked right up 'till sunset and during cloudy weather. Some loss but still useful amps.
I have had my conventional glass covered single cell panels onboard, for 15 years now. (Not counting my two previous boats). They charged me back through thousands of days spent "on the hook". I also have installed these, as well as many other things, professionally.

It is absolutely NOT true that they, (glass single cell panels), need direct sunlight! ANY light will produce power. People who perpetuate such myths are not actually taking a reading, they are just noticing that their battery didn't get charged that day. We have A meters on each one, on the group of four together, and a Link 10 Monitor counting the Ah gained that day.

We need about 40 Ah / day to bring our batteries back to 100%, which we do every day. On a good sunny day, or BRIGHT white overcast day... In either case, our panels produce about twice that. By having this necessary "X2" ratio... we get back to 100% fully charged, EVEN on VERY cloudy days.

If it is SO cloudy that it's almost DARK out, it might be close, so we tilt the aft panel toward the setting Sun for the last little bit.

The production in Ah going into the batteries, on cloudy, overcast days, seems to be around HALF of the maximum rating.


Regarding testing an old panel to see if it is up to specs... This doesn't tell much. The specs are not often correct, and their is more to it than Max A. If it is high A but V has gone down for example, it will not charge as well. One would have to test the panel's ability to charge a battery when new, and with exactly the same conditions AND battery, test it again X number of years later. Not easy!

All panels have declining performance from cell breakdown, and the plastic or vinyl covered ones from UV degradation of the cover as well. A little bit of hazing cuts more than you think. Our glass panels can see a measurable boost by wiping off the pollen! Glass is easily refurbished to as clear as day one. Not so with plastic/vinyl.

We also mount all of our deck panels on side rails of Starboard. this prevents rope snags, and keeps air movement under them, boosting V.

Having used & studied these for 35 years, my observation, and that of MOST testing entities like Practical Sailor is:

Flexible panels have their place, but they are MUCH larger than single cell glass type, for a given power output, and for single cell glass panels, that output is consistently produced for about twice as long (on average), as the flexible kind. If you compare apples to apples... Ah produced over 20 + years, the flexible units cost more as well.

This is the consensus of opinion in the VAST majority of the industry, and should be considered in ones decisions.

Hopefully, a breakthrough is just around the corner. Perhaps this will no longer be true some day? For now... It is still the case.

Mark
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Old 28-04-2011, 15:24   #20
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One to avoid!

I can not let this thread pass without mention of the terrible performance I had with the pair of Sunlinq 25w flexible (semi) panels I bought.

There are lots of great panels out there, this is not one of them;



The Sunlinq 25w panels never would develop more then 300ma... even going to a pure resistive load in direct sunlight. I had bought 2 of them to place on my bimini... worst garbage... spent a lot of money on them.

I was glad to have delt with altenergy.org.. they were great about accepting them back for a refund.

I have had GREAT service from BP (Uni-solar) brand and Kyocera... not Sunlinq.
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Old 29-04-2011, 15:33   #21
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations???

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The A / buck is not as good, but if all you've got is a place which has to be walked on, you don't really have a choice.
flexible NOT = walk'able

Some are some are not.

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Old 29-04-2011, 18:28   #22
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations?

my flexibles had tool boxes dropped on them and still work just as well as did day i bought them. i know as i keep them monitored. so, then , WHY can they NOT be walked on???????
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:12   #23
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Re: Flexible solar panel recommendations?

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my flexibles had tool boxes dropped on them and still work just as well as did day i bought them. i know as i keep them monitored. so, then , WHY can they NOT be walked on???????
If your flexible panels are walk'able, it does not imply all of them are. Download spec sheets from different makes and read them. Some are not.

Re the flexibility - observe the max flex amount rigorously. I have seen an expensive unit go to shreds when one owner tried to bend it a bit too much. So, again, some are more flexible, others are less so - observe the spec sheets.

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Old 16-07-2011, 22:26   #24
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Re: Flexible Solar Panel Recommendations?

most flexible solar panel can walk on
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Old 17-07-2011, 08:26   #25
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Re: Flexible Solar Panel Recommendations?

flexiblesolar,

That's the biggest catamaran deck I've ever seen...
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Old 17-07-2011, 09:11   #26
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Re: Flexible Solar Panel Recommendations?

how about some others,
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Old 17-07-2011, 11:11   #27
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I believe Stellenbosch University have come up with a Sail that is full of solar cells and is currently under testing.
Anyone hear of this?
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Old 17-07-2011, 11:13   #28
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Re: Flexible Solar Panel Recommendations?

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I believe Stellenbosch University have come up with a Sail that is full of solar cells and is currently under testing.
Anyone hear of this?
They have been reading CF, someone suggested this 18 months ago. The other suggestion was for sails to heat water.

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