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Old 27-06-2022, 01:44   #46
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Re: flexible vs rigid solar panels

Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
My friend had flexibles on his RV , same issue. Burn marks and dead panels after 2 years.

My rigid panels are 6 years old and still going strong
My rigid panels are 8+ years old and pumping out the amps just fine.
Rob aka Uncle Bob Sydney Australia.

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Old 27-06-2022, 06:35   #47
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Re: flexible vs rigid solar panels

My guess is that anyone who experiences an issue with 3 yr old panels shopped price.

It isn't Ridged Vs Flex, it is more often you get what you bargained for.

The Xantrex 3-220W flex panels we had installed with a Victron 150/60 MPPT controller has been working flawlessly (knocking on wood & my head).

It wasn't a cheap install, in '20 and I would anticipate that in several more years it will be antiquated. Just the way that technology works.

Our trawler is sitting in a slip in FL hopefully missing any hurricanes that might move by and there is no shore power, therefore we are on total solar charging for 6-6V L16 AGM batts and the last report I got was the batts were at 13+.

I'm very happy with our Xantrex choice.
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Old 27-06-2022, 08:11   #48
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Re: flexible vs rigid solar panels

I installed two rigid panels on my boat about 6 years ago (Renogy, 100w each) and they are still doing well today. At least no deterioration from the 130W max power they achieve under ideal circumstances.

And then, in view of the heat of the Med, installed a bimini which basically extended the sun shade already provided by the two rigid panels further forward (as far as the boom would allow). On this canvas I subsequently fixed two flexible 100W Renogy panels with velcro. See image below. I actually was thinking about more of the same rigid panels but I did not like carrying the weight of the 7kg per rigid panel additional weight vs a kilo or so for each flex panel.

Max output now is 260W which makes the boat more or less autonomous including running a watermaker for an hour or so per day. Provided it is sunny. I might add two more flexible panels on the remaining canvas still visible.

I see in many comments how these panels can be bought cheap from China and I tend to think, well those Renogy panels aren't that cheap so either I was ripped off or... you get what you pay for. Time will tell.

Otherwise... must be said that other floating objects don't seem to have much of an (energy) consumption problem, see image 2. Cramp as many people as possible on a boat, maximize profits and to hell with everything else. I can't help but call it a monstrosity, doesn't even fit in the picture.
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Old 27-06-2022, 12:32   #49
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Re: flexible vs rigid solar panels

Iíve had WindyNation flexible panels for 3 years with no perceived loss in power. They are mounted to my 1/4Ē starboard bimini.
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Old 27-06-2022, 12:56   #50
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Re: flexible vs rigid solar panels

Old thread but here are my experiences.
I added 6 lipo drop in batteries and 3 of 4 flexible panels made in Michigan in my Canvas. Please donít do this. I need to replace the canvas on the Bimini.
I 3D printed 4 clamp pins which retain a nut.
Two 11í bands with a slight curve of stainless. 4 panels bolt to it.
They are made in a rolling bed which slopes down and then back up to maintain tension on the thin steel as they pass through gas chambers. Now I have air flow but I may need a 3 Band to make them more stable. Iím avoiding putting a big metal frame on the back.
I helped build design and 3D print the housing for some remote electronics.
I needed a 4.5w panel to charge a 2500mA battery which ran a 3.5 micro processor.
There are 50 of them so I printed holders and turned to China for lightweight panels.
Good for 3 years 19.00$ Good for 7 29.00$
The best panels made expire. I have a flexible panel 200 watt from same manufacturer in an aluminum frame. Itís on itís 3rd boat as the winter battery tender. Itís seen Canadaís worst weather been buried in snow and ice 7 years ugly and running around 85%. Itís keeps batteries monitoring system golden rods vents running 5-6 months in temps as low as -35C.

The panel holder is for a 4.5 but Iím working on a larger one to strap onto my Dinghy battery a 20Amp
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Old 21-07-2022, 17:57   #51
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Re: flexible vs rigid solar panels

Originally Posted by Jagarwal View Post
Quoting from my own thread about my choice for flexible panels:

ďFor solar panels I decided to take a different route than most and purchase CIGS panels. CIGS stands for copper indium gallium selenide. These panels use a different chemistry than typical silicon based panels, and as such they have different properties. To start, the panels are made from a thin continuous film of the PV material that is usually mounted on a flexible substrate; meaning unlike silicon wafer based panels they can actually flex or be walked on without risk of damage. They can be rolled for storage without damage. They are still very lightweight and low profile.

Because they are not individual cells and are instead a continuous film, they have many many many Ďbypass diodesí (I am not sure they are actually bypass diodes in this case). This means they handle shading extremely well. In my tests with a single 50W panel, shading any percentage of the panel would result in a similar percentage of decreased output. The orientation or area of shading is not important, meaning a boom hanging over the array will not kill the whole output, and will instead have a minimal effect on output, proportional to the area it shades.

Performance while partially shaded was a big motivation in selecting these panels as it is my hope they will still perform well when sailing. Only time will tell but I will happily share my results.

Weight was also a large consideration.

Unfortunately the only CIGS panels I could cheaply get my hands on are 50 watts from a company called MiaSole, via Amazon. They cost about $86 US each shipped. I will simply use a lot to build a sizable array (I hope to fit 28 panels on the Bimini). I tried contacting multiple CIGS manufacturers and could not get a hold of a single one to order larger or custom panels. I will start with an 8 panel install and test for performance before ordering more.Ē

I havenít met or seen anyone discussing using these panels on a boat but I donít see why they couldnít perform well. I will know soon how efficient my installation is.

Hi Jack, we are planing to install MiaSole Flex modules on our curved bimini top, after having very bad experience with semiflexible multicristaline ones. Are you still happy with your MiaSole ones? So far I did find info about longterm use of such panels. Cheers: Ben
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