Solar, Flexible Panels - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-06-2011, 06:44 PM   #1
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Solar, Flexible Panels

Has any one installed a flexible solar panel on their egg?

Norm
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:48 PM   #2
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I just have a rigid 15 watt panel on my tongue box, it keeps my batteries @ 13.10 volts.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #3
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We have 120 watts of traditional solar panels but I really don't want to roof mount them on our Scamp. Though like you, we found they worked well and easily ran an electric fridge we had at the time.

I liked the idea of a flexible panel. They only weigh 9 pounds for a 68 watt panel, have a sticky back and are only 0.2 inches thick.

Simply looking for others experience.

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Old 06-06-2011, 08:09 PM   #4
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Flexible solar panels are getting more efficient but what is on the market is not as good as monocrystalline. DailyTech - Flexible Film Solar Cells Approach Efficiency of Hard Silicon Panels
HQRPT distributes monocrystalline flexible panels; I assume their Si wafers are thin enough to be flexible. Amazon.com: HQRP 30W (15W + 15W) Flexible Solar Panel 30 Watt Power 12V Monocrystalline PV Module 12 Volt DC Battery Charger w/ 4 Stainless Grommets for RV Marine Yacht Boat Car + Coaster: Patio, Lawn & Garden
Another example of thin film flexible solar panel is: Amazon.com: Uni-Solar PVL-68 PowerBond PVL 68 Watt 12 Volt 112-Inch x 15.5-Inch Flexible Solar Panel: Patio, Lawn & Garden, perhaps this is the one you mentioned.
The rigid panel I am using 60 Watt Solar Panel 60 Watt Solar Panel [EMM60W] - $155.00 : The Energy Mill, Renewable Energy Products
One way to compare is wattage output per unit of area.
HQROT 15W; 12”x32” – 0.040W/in^2
Uni-solar 68W; 112”x15.5” – 0.039W/in^2
Rigid monocrystalline 60W; 22”x32” – 0.085W/in^2
You get almost double area efficiency with rigid monocryatalline versus flexible panels. If you have room I am certain they are easier to install.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:17 PM   #5
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I recognize the mono crystals are more efficient but also heavier and disruptive to the smooth lines. Two years ago I made two 60 watt panels.

I'm trying to keep things that off the roof that disrupt the clean lines. Uni solar 68 watt is down to $200.

I'm particularly wondering about how they interact with the roof/fiberglass. My mono crystal panels got very hot in direct Sun.

Norm
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:45 PM   #6
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One thing to keep in mind, we have some 30 watt panels on our boat that have a stainless steal back and no frame. The have plastic over the cells instead of glass (they were supposed to be tougher and probably similar to the flexible panels). After a couple of years in the sun the plastic started to cloud up. Guess I needed to protect the panels from the sun... We are going with glass topped panels from now on.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Evergreen View Post
One thing to keep in mind, we have some 30 watt panels on our boat that have a stainless steal back and no frame. The have plastic over the cells instead of glass (they were supposed to be tougher and probably similar to the flexible panels). After a couple of years in the sun the plastic started to cloud up. Guess I needed to protect the panels from the sun... We are going with glass topped panels from now on.
Good point.

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:26 PM   #8
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Here's a fairly recent discussion about flexible solar mats. Peterh, "solar guy" chimed in on the second page: Solar related Q: flex power mat?
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
..............My mono crystal panels got very hot in direct Sun.

Norm
Any surface will absorb infrared radiation (IR = heat), darker surfaces will absorb more. In the rigid panel there is an air gap between a panel and the fiberglass practically nulling conductive heat transfer, what is left are radiation and convection heat transfers which should not be a problem. In solar panels without air gap, such as glued-on flex panel the absorbed heat will be transferred to fiberglass via conduction. So, I would be more worry about heat on panels directly attached to the roof. If I would be placing flex panels on the roof I would consider aluminized bubble foil layer for heat transfer barrier. But, the concept of flexible panels can be irresistible for today’s well valued benefit of the better gas mileage.
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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Flexible solar panels are getting more efficient but what is on the market is not as good as monocrystalline.
You get almost double area efficiency with rigid monocryatalline versus flexible panels.
It is often said that that mono and poly panels are more efficient than the amorphous type. That is true if all you compare is peak power output under ideal conditions. Peak power output does not really matter, what does matter is how much power the panel puts into the battery during the entire day. I have never seen the daily output of different types compared under real world conditions, with shadows, clouds, poor orentation, hot weather, early or late in the day. Under those conditions the amorphous type can put out more power than the mono or poly types and may actually charge your battery more than the "higher efficiency" types.
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:48 PM   #11
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Any surface will absorb infrared radiation (IR = heat), darker surfaces will absorb more. In the rigid panel there is an air gap between a panel and the fiberglass practically nulling conductive heat transfer, what is left are radiation and convection heat transfers which should not be a problem. In solar panels without air gap, such as glued-on flex panel the absorbed heat will be transferred to fiberglass via conduction. So, I would be more worry about heat on panels directly attached to the roof. If I would be placing flex panels on the roof I would consider aluminized bubble foil layer for heat transfer barrier. But, the concept of flexible panels can be irresistible for today’s well valued benefit of the better gas mileage.
George.
George,
Are you concerned that the heat would damage the fiberglass?

Norm
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:04 PM   #12
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Donna,

That was a good link for flexible solar.

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Old 06-08-2011, 11:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Andy B View Post
It is often said that that mono and poly panels are more efficient than the amorphous type. That is true if all you compare is peak power output under ideal conditions. Peak power output does not really matter, what does matter is how much power the panel puts into the battery during the entire day. I have never seen the daily output of different types compared under real world conditions, with shadows, clouds, poor orentation, hot weather, early or late in the day. Under those conditions the amorphous type can put out more power than the mono or poly types and may actually charge your battery more than the "higher efficiency" types.
I agree with your point that overall power not just peak power output would be a better metric for efficiency. I have seen power output comparisons between mono, polycrystalline and thin film PV panels favoring thin film, but they are often done by thin film manufacturers or resellers being potentially biased.

Amorphous Si PV panels have a 10 – 20% efficiency drop (Staebler-Wronski effect) during the first 100hrs of sun exposure. It would be difficult to determine which efficiency numbers are used to sell thin film, the one before or after the power drop.


Establishing new power output test standard could be difficult due additional variables than in power peak test standard, but, it would be nice to have a real life output data to make a decision.


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Old 06-08-2011, 11:45 AM   #14
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George,
Are you concerned that the heat would damage the fiberglass?

Norm
I would not worry about fiberglass, but a large dark panel directly attached to fiberglass could conduct enough heat to impact temperature inside the trailer.

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