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Old 18-02-2018, 09:12   #1
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Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

So April 2016 I buy a 30w solar panel for the hatch garage infront of the sprayhood, because It's a good fit size wise. Chose Lensun because they claimed all sorts of things for their new fibreglass backed black panels with ETFE.

A trip to move the boat yesterday revealed patches around the edges of the panel have gone white and separated from the base layers. Water will now get in to the panel. It hasn't reached the cells yet, but just a matter of time.

Lensun warranty? well that's 5 years on rigid panels and 1 year on semi-flexible. I have sent them an e-mail but not holding out much hope for a business based in HK.

Guess I will be shopping for solar again in the Autumn

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Marine-specific or domestic panels?
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Old 18-02-2018, 09:50   #2
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

1 year is pretty frustrating, although I assume it is still putting out full power and might for a few more years. How much was it?
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Old 18-02-2018, 10:00   #3
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

Haven't actually checked the charging voltage, will do that during the week. Cost £96 ($135 US), so not the end of the world just annoying.
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Old 18-02-2018, 10:08   #4
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

You could have bought a high end flex panel for 3 or 4 times as much. Not clear you would be any further ahead. I look at the flex panels as cheap solar additions that are good for maybe 3 years.
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Old 18-02-2018, 11:38   #5
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

"patches around the edges of the panel have gone white and separated from the base layers."
Sounds like you could solvent clean that, fill with epoxy, clamp and press the areas that were separating, and stand a good chance of resealing them. Might not stop the problem but it wouldn't cost a whole lot either. just sounds like their adhesive failed.
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Old 18-02-2018, 17:07   #6
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

Would be nice to get 2-3 years but par for the course.

Was it mounted to get cooling airflow below?

Try resealing the edge?
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Old 19-02-2018, 10:59   #7
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

Kindly check with Missouri wind and solar. That is a serious US Company.Regards, John.
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Old 19-02-2018, 11:11   #8
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

Received an e-mail from Lensun this evening asking for photos which I will do over the next couple of days and see what they say.

I could try sealing the edges but at the moment I want to see what Lensun will do to resolve it. I value the company not only on the product but what they do when things do go wrong, so happy to give them the opportunity to put things right.

The panel was mounted on the deck in front of the spray hood on 6 x two inch velcro patches so had a clearance of about 1/4" underneath.

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Old 19-02-2018, 11:20   #9
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

While ETFE is very stable, like Teflon (PTFE), it is practically impossible to bond.

Epoxy won't stick, at all. Try Sudbury Elastomeric Sealant, which does considerably better than others on polyethylene (I've done side-by-side testing).

I would also cover the bond area with something UV-proof (paint), since the UV attacks the bond. This is probably a good idea with all inexpensive semi-flexible panels.
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Old 19-02-2018, 11:38   #10
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

That's worth knowing and could have been an easy mistake to make.

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Old 19-02-2018, 12:10   #11
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
While ETFE is very stable, like Teflon (PTFE), it is practically impossible to bond.

Epoxy won't stick, at all. Try Sudbury Elastomeric Sealant, which does considerably better than others on polyethylene (I've done side-by-side testing).

I would also cover the bond area with something UV-proof (paint), since the UV attacks the bond. This is probably a good idea with all inexpensive semi-flexible panels.
While it's a very important lesson, it should have been Lensun's job to seal the panels properly... This way the fancy ETFE panel has a shorter life than an el cheapo PET panel.

As a potential future customer I am more and more shying away from flex panels. However, cheap ones replaced every 2-3 years might also be an option unless you plan a 1kWp floating power station...
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Old 20-02-2018, 05:23   #12
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

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While it's a very important lesson, it should have been Lensun's job to seal the panels properly... This way the fancy ETFE panel has a shorter life than an el cheapo PET panel.

As a potential future customer I am more and more shying away from flex panels. However, cheap ones replaced every 2-3 years might also be an option unless you plan a 1kWp floating power station...
I'm interested in ETFE coated panels....but I would not get afraid after ONE reported coat failure. Failed PET coated ones are pretty common
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Old 20-02-2018, 05:37   #13
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

What about using a 3M VHB tape, along the edge folded over to seal the opening?

Maybe as a preventative when installing?
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Old 20-02-2018, 05:41   #14
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

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I'm interested in ETFE coated panels....but I would not get afraid after ONE reported coat failure. Failed PET coated ones are pretty common
PET has by definition shorter lifetime as it's slowly degrading on UV. Question is how much shorter for how much $$$.
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Old 20-02-2018, 10:54   #15
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Re: Lensun ETFE Panel - Failed

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What about using a 3M VHB tape, along the edge folded over to seal the opening?

Maybe as a preventative when installing?
Whilst the GRP back is reasonably smooth the top surface has a none slip ridge pattern on it so tape isn't going to seal for long, certainly not in a UK winter.

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