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Old 10-08-2022, 01:33   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2019
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Renogy Vs Sun Power flexibles

I am in the final stages of planning a lightweight hard bimini, basically replacing fabric with fibreglass/foam sandwich. It is to be supported from the existing stainless bimini bows so must be light and is curved transversely for rigidity. I am looking to mount semi flexible solar panels to the top of the composite structure. The area is around 2m x 1.8m.

I am comparing two panel options.
Renogy 100/175w, sourced locally and Sunpower out of the USA.

Considerations include cost, warranty and real life durability.

1. The Sunpower panels are similarly priced, or a few percent higher but then freight and tax probably adds about another 30-40% so in the order of $1000 extra.
2. Warranty are similar on paper. If I buy locally I can go back to a local supplier assuming I am still in NZ when they fail. Sunpower seems to be a international warranty, but i'm not sure how people have got on with claims from outside USA?
3. I hear good things about Sunpower semi flexibles. I have concerns about overheating of the Renogy panels where I fix directly to to the glass/foam laminate .

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Old 10-08-2022, 03:13   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Re: Renogy Vs Sun Power flexibles

I have rigid and flexible Renogy panels on my boat, 100W each. No complaints though max output peaks at around 65% of rated output, not sure if that's good or bad.

The rigid panels have been in place for several years, no issues. The flexible panels I added last year, attached to the soft bimini, and they perform as the hard ones but they don't seem to be aging that well, I will need to make sure I don't flex them much when I need to remove them.

Unfortunately I don't have a direct comparison with the Sunpower panels
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Old 10-08-2022, 09:11   #3
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Re: Renogy Vs Sun Power flexibles

I'm at the end of the 2nd season with 2x 170W sunpower flexible panels, mounted on a lightweight aluminum strip frame on top of my bimini (idea came from "sailing agape" I think).

They perform well and in ideal conditions can exceed the nominal / rated power.

I've bought additional sunpower panels to increase my solar to 610W for next season.


PS: if you're concerned about overheating panels, here's an idea for increasing airflow.
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Old 10-08-2022, 10:06   #4
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Re: Renogy Vs Sun Power flexibles

Here is a bit in regards my experience with GoPower flexibles:
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Old 10-08-2022, 11:42   #5
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Re: Renogy Vs Sun Power flexibles

I’m using flexible panels now mounted on some pins I 3D printed above my Bimini. Yes I burnt it in 4 spots. I bought a made in China solar panel for my made in China lithium 20amp battery in the Dinghy with an Arduino charger just for fun. Otherwise I avoid that spilling over into my house banks where bs warranties don’t count. Real USA made is top choice even if their specs are not as good they are honest.
If they are dropping Chinese 3.2boxes in a big plastic or aluminum wands and waving the made in USA magic wand across it there are tax laws in place ( enablers tax) to make them non competitive. They are also unaccountable and defer to foreign partner problems making it yours. On top of all the fake UL CSA ETL and SAE labels it’s truly a buyer beware market.
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Old 10-08-2022, 12:51   #6
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Re: Renogy Vs Sun Power flexibles

We have had two Renogy 100 watt semi flexible solar panels, they are attached to our Bimini top, (Sunbrella material), and have made three consecutive seasonal trips from Connecticut to the Bahamas and back, we have not had an over heating issue and have been happy with their performance. The panels are in constant use as we are live a board cruisers. Of course this is just one boat’s experience with the Renogy product.

Fair winds,
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