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Old 07-07-2018, 14:12   #1
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Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Hi everyone, I'm wanting to up my solar configuration, at the moment I have 1 x 250w over our davit system a 2 x 100w panels on our hard top, (50ft catamaran) and would like to add two more 200w flexible panels on top of our rear cockpit awning which is stabilized by a stainless frame, I'm in Australia and am finding it a little difficult to locate repitable panels, Solbian seem to be the go certainly at a price but they don't seem to do anything far beyond 100w, everything else seems to be Chinese made which I'm not that keen on, so does anybody have any suggestions on where I should be looking or what other brand may avaliable.

Regards Rod.
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:33   #2
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doublebubble View Post
Hi everyone, I'm wanting to up my solar configuration, at the moment I have 1 x 250w over our davit system a 2 x 100w panels on our hard top, (50ft catamaran) and would like to add two more 200w flexible panels on top of our rear cockpit awning which is stabilized by a stainless frame, I'm in Australia and am finding it a little difficult to locate repitable panels, Solbian seem to be the go certainly at a price but they don't seem to do anything far beyond 100w, everything else seems to be Chinese made which I'm not that keen on, so does anybody have any suggestions on where I should be looking or what other brand may avaliable.

Regards Rod.
Solbian does up to 160W with the SR series (less $/watt than the SP), and up to 154W with the SXp series (even less $/watt). SP series up to 144W standard (SP144) however can also make custom SP as well (high cost though).
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:57   #3
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Yeh I've studied their website pretty heavily and either way they are pretty expensive, I may be looking at their 100w panels which I could probably get away with or stop the wife having her little Brisbane girls weekend away.

Regards Rod
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Old 10-07-2018, 17:22   #4
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

No flexible panel is good value IMO compared to any framed.

Maybe if professionally installed by the likes of Ocean Planet, you might get 5-7 years.

Otherwise plan on an average of three.

If I couldn't mount framed, I would just go cheap Chinese and mount best as possible so easy to replace, treat as a consumable throwaway.

Of course do a great job + get lucky maybe get pleasantly surprised.

Better than spending ten times as much and having high expectations shattered.
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Old 10-07-2018, 17:48   #5
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

I just buy cheap Chinese off of ebay...use snaps to mount to bimini top...I keep 4 spares on board to replace. Flexible panels are getting better every year...I dont think blowing the wad on Solbians is worth it yet.
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Old 10-07-2018, 17:52   #6
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Well I certainly am on the fence on this one, how can one flexible or semi flexible be that much better than the other, I mean 4, 5, 10 times the price as the other, same output, framed ones are certainly my preference it's just the mounting of these next panels thats becoming a bit of a problem, they will need to go on the top of our rear deck awning, but your right they could just a consumable and yes as always it will be a good job.

Cheers Rod.
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Old 10-07-2018, 18:06   #7
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Framed ones mounted right can last much longer than you'll want to keep them.
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Old 10-07-2018, 18:07   #8
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

We should all remember, technology will vastly improve all electronics quickly.
If it only lasts 5 years, then you can update sooner. SMILE
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Old 10-07-2018, 19:02   #9
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Sure but nice to choose the timing.

Choosing the Solbians and then only getting a year or two would hurt.

Not saying anything about their relative quality, just how important proper mounting is.
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Old 10-07-2018, 19:23   #10
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

I bought my boat that had 2 yr old Solbian flexible panels and they were junk, they were cracked, cloudy and did not produce

I ended up buying cheap Chinese ones on eBay and after 4 months they still look and work the same so I'm pretty happy with the choice
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Old 10-07-2018, 21:18   #11
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

FWIW:

BOught relatively inexpensive Chinese semi flex 100 watt panel, mounted on top of a fabric dodger. Dodger does not flex perceptibly, but the panel did vibrate slightly in some wind conditions. Result? Began degrading in output within a few months, became clouded soon thereafter and after ~18 months output is down to around 20% of original.

Won't do that again!

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Old 11-07-2018, 01:23   #12
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

I have 100w Chinese ones 3 years old (2 years Mexico) still putting out 5 amps. I have 4 new ones as replacements if they ever do crap out. I guess our mileage can vary and I think flexible panel evolution has just begun.
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:34   #13
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

I had 5 flexible 100W glued on the roof of my RV, after 3 years 2 dead, one reduced output slowly decreasing. Plastic gets blind because of UV, would not buy again flex panels.

Glas panels are easier to clean and much more reliable, also way cheaper and more versatile regarding sizes, power and voltage.

I prefer high-voltage panels to leverage parallel setups with MPPT controller advantages and lower primary currents (96 cells, 60V)
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:19   #14
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
No flexible panel is good value IMO compared to any framed. Maybe if professionally installed by the likes of Ocean Planet, you might get 5-7 years. Otherwise plan on an average of three. If I couldn't mount framed, I would just go cheap Chinese and mount best as possible so easy to replace, treat as a consumable throwaway. Of course do a great job + get lucky maybe get pleasantly surprised. Better than spending ten times as much and having high expectations shattered.
What panels are you using on your boat?

Pete
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:31   #15
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Re: Recommened Flexible Solar panels.

I'm using 2 All Powers 100W flexible panels (Chinese product) which have performed well over the past year. One was blown off the boat (poor mounting, my fault) and was submerged for 2 days before I found it washed ashore...and it still worked! Both panels have taken a beating and I'm still getting good performance from them charging 2 banks of two paralleled 100-amp size 24 batteries.

Purchased off Amazon with a PWM controller (not a quality controller BTW, but does work) for $170 USD each. All Powers also has panels up to 300W if you have room for them.

(Am not associated with All Powers. Just sharing my satisfaction with their product.)
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