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Old 06-12-2019, 19:32   #1
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Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Looking to replace some of our solar panels on deck which have reached the end of their life (>20yrs old) with some newer technology. I'm looking for some panels which are flexible as the deck has a slight curve and ones which can be walked on occasionally (ie when standing beside the mast to climb the mast). I haven't measured yet, but the panels will need to be in the 1-2' x 2-4' range

Do you have any recommendations or installations which have worked for you?


thanks!
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Old 06-12-2019, 19:36   #2
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Don't expect long life, maybe average 3-4 years.
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Old 06-12-2019, 20:01   #3
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

There are huge differences in quality. Cheaper options won't tolerate traffic well at all. The cells are quite fragile and cracks rob power at an alarming rate. But it's not as bad as it seems.


This cheap panel is 5 years old and is still at full power. I keep off of it, but it's probably been stepped on. Most importantly, it is well supported by a smooth deck. (Ecoworthy)




Many of the early failures are on dodgers, where they flex, and the worse extend across a bow, against all manufacture recommendations.


  • Firm support. No flexing at all.
  • Bend them only once, and not to a radius less than recommended (generally just a few inches over the width).
  • Avoid traffic as much as humanly possible. An occasional cautious step should be OK... but why? I climb my mast and have yet to step on the panel for that reason.
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Old 06-12-2019, 21:02   #4
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

most can not be walked on. so your options are limited.

maybe take a look at these? if ocean planet sells them. probably good.

https://oceanplanetenergy.com/wp-con...pecs-2019-.pdf

just looked your in ont. here is a canadian link for the same product.

https://www.pysystems.ca/recommended...-solar-panels/
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Old 06-12-2019, 21:36   #5
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
most can not be walked on. so your options are limited.

maybe take a look at these? if ocean planet sells them. probably good.

https://oceanplanetenergy.com/wp-con...pecs-2019-.pdf

just looked your in ont. here is a canadian link for the same product.

https://www.pysystems.ca/recommended...-solar-panels/
Probably excellent but with a price tag to match. And they're mounted on thin sheets of aluminum or stainless steel that still allow for a modest bend. In other words, well-supported as is needed for longevity as was explained above. Estimates of 3-4 years are mainly from cheaper panels mounted on canvas, and so not a fair representation.
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Old 06-12-2019, 22:32   #6
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Take a look at Wattstunde - a german company. They are half the price compared to SOLARA - warranty is 5 or 10 years. Wattstunde says it is 10 years, the dealer in England says 5 years, so it is a bit confusing.

https://www.solarpowersupply.eu/watt...ctomschrijving

https://www.wattstunde.de/files/watt...ATT_EFX_de.pdf
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:01   #7
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Thanks - got some reading on the suggested panels....

FYI - I'm currently in the southern eastern US.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:42   #8
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

No issues with cheaper flex panels , walked on them and dogs with their claws seems to handle it ok
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:19   #9
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Bought mine from Unisolar, USA. Recommend from our yacht designer, now 10years and still performing well. Walk-on yes and we do for sail handling, but not designed as compgnionway. Have 6, joined in 3 pairs, hence our Australian regulator is fed with 36V, batteries are 12V gel, next battery change will use LithiumPH.... 1:1 swapable, charging electronic build-in
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Old 07-12-2019, 13:14   #10
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Lensun makes fiberglass backed semiflexible panels suited for decks which are not much more expensive than the plastic backed ones. Nature Power does too, but they are extremely expensive.
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Old 07-12-2019, 13:29   #11
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Gioco, one of the forum sponsors, makes walkable panels that are available from Emarineinc.com in the US.

https://www.emarineinc.com/categorie...e-Solar-Panels

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Old 08-12-2019, 00:53   #12
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
There are huge differences in quality. Cheaper options won't tolerate traffic well at all. The cells are quite fragile and cracks rob power at an alarming rate. But it's not as bad as it seems.


This cheap panel is 5 years old and is still at full power. I keep off of it, but it's probably been stepped on. Most importantly, it is well supported by a smooth deck. (Ecoworthy)




Many of the early failures are on dodgers, where they flex, and the worse extend across a bow, against all manufacture recommendations.


  • Firm support. No flexing at all.
  • Bend them only once, and not to a radius less than recommended (generally just a few inches over the width).
  • Avoid traffic as much as humanly possible. An occasional cautious step should be OK... but why? I climb my mast and have yet to step on the panel for that reason.
I've had Aurinco panels in service for 6 years. Too bad they are now out of business.

I followed all of the advice above.

"Flexible" panels are not flexible -- they are "bendable" -- only once -- over a rigid surface with no more than a gentle camber. Putting them on a dodger or any other surface that flexes will kill them very quickly. And if you're lucky, they won't also catch fire.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:53   #13
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

SCRAP!: flexible = 5-6 years monocristalline 20 years
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:00   #14
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

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Originally Posted by moseriw View Post
SCRAP!: flexible = 5-6 years monocristalline 20 years

And how many rigid panels can be walked on? The OP needs to mount these in areas that get foot traffic.


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Old 09-12-2019, 18:12   #15
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Re: Flexible Solar Panels you can Walk On

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffr View Post
Looking to replace some of our solar panels on deck which have reached the end of their life (>20yrs old) with some newer technology. I'm looking for some panels which are flexible as the deck has a slight curve and ones which can be walked on occasionally (ie when standing beside the mast to climb the mast). I haven't measured yet, but the panels will need to be in the 1-2' x 2-4' range

Do you have any recommendations or installations which have worked for you?


thanks!
With all due respect , how long does anything last on a boat deck while walking upon it ?
Do some search online on how long these panels last .
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