best flexible solar panel

7 Best Flexible Solar Panels Reviews 2020

The best flexible solar panels work by providing low-cost, off-grid power on-the-go, making it ideal for boats, RVs, cabins, and other outdoor locations and activities like camping and hiking.

Sometimes, when homes cannot use the traditional, rigid solar panels due to uneven roof or other reasons, flexible solar panels serve as a pretty good alternative.

In the solar industry, flexible solar panels are called "thin film panels." This is because they are made from layers of one or more photovoltaic (PV) material on top of glass, metal or plastic. These layers end up over 300 times smaller than the standard silicon-based solar panels.

The design of flexible solar panels makes them a lot more lightweight, portable and flexible, while keeping the durability and energy-efficiency of traditional silicon panels.

What better way to understand the capabilities of flexible solar panels than to check out the current models offered in the market today. We've handpicked several interesting models that may fit your requirements:

Product

Best For

Key Features

Best Flexible Solar Panels With The Most Features

renogy rng-100db-h
  • Maximum curved range of 248 degrees
  • Ideal for uneven surfaces
  • High efficiency 21% monocrystalline
  • 5-year warranty

Best Flexible Solar Panels For Various Settings

giaride 100-watt flexible solar panel
  • High efficiency
  • Multiple installation options
  • Easily flex and bend in place
  • Also available in 50-watt

Best Flexible Solar Panels Under $150

richsolar 50 watt solar panel
  • Super affordable
  • Available in 50 and 80-watt variations
  • Curves up to 30 degrees
  • 25-year power output warranty

​Top 7 Flexible Solar Panels To Buy in 2020

 sunpower solar panel

  • Up to 25% efficiency
  • Performs well in high temperatures
  • USA made with ISO9001 certification
  • 5-year warranty

Made by one of the most popular brands in the country, SunPower's 100-watt flexible solar panel is a top-notch option if you want maximum power performance from your unit. This is because the main material used are Gen II Maxeon silicon solar cells, the same material you can find in traditional solar panels.

The SunPower 100-watt solar panels consist of 32 high-efficiency monocrystalline cells. They have up to 23% efficiency (its 110-watt counterpart has up to 25%), which are both in the higher range when it comes to the efficiency of flexible solar panels. 

Another good thing about SunPower's flexible solar panel is that it could perform well even in hot temperatures, so if you're planning to mount it on top of your trailer while passing through the desert, this make and model could deliver the power you need. Some low-quality panels lose efficiency as the temperature rises.

If you're an owner of other flexible solar panels, you'll quickly realize that the SunPower's flexible solar panels are special. Unlike other brands, these panels are very hard with thick plastic as the top layer. The quality is definitely evident as quickly as you carry them. Plus, the panels come with 17.7 feet of 12 AWG cable and MC4 connectors (already integrated as a single piece), so it's easier for people to install themselves.

PROS

  • Available in 50, 100 and 110 watts
  • -0.30 to -0.35% per 1C˚power temperature coefficient
  • Robust and weather-resistant
  • Well-made with high quality materials

CONS

  • Not the cheapest in the market
kingsolar 100 watt flexible solar panel
  • Reaches up to 23.5 power efficiency
  • High temperature resistance
  • Uses ETFE material
  • Portable and lightweight

The Kingsolar 100-watt kit may look like any of the other contenders of best flexible solar panels on this list, but there are two things that make this kit special. 

For one, Kingsolar skipped PET and used an ETFE surface, a type of thermoplastic polymer known for resistance to corrosion and heat more effectively compared to the more common PET surface. The transmission of ETFE material can be as high as 95% and also perform even at high temperatures. 

Aside from being waterproof (with an IP68 rating), these flexible solar panels are also made with copper cables covered with 3 layers of plastic film and water-resistant, sealed junction box. 

Kingsolar's 100-watt flexible solar panels convert up to 23.5% of sunlight into usable power. It boasts of superior weak-light sensitivity and impressive internal-blocking diode that prevents reverse current drain at night. 

This flexible solar panel kit can curve at a maximum 30 degree arc and since it only weighs 4.8 pounds and measures 0.1-inch thick, it can be installed in any irregular or curved surface like boats, cabins, RVs, trucks, trailers and tents, among others. This also means removing and transporting these flexible solar panels are as hassle-free as installing them.

PROS

  • Designed with ETFE material
  • Ideal for numerous applications
  • Water-resistant, weatherproof and highly durably
  • Portable and easy to install

CONS

  • Need to have adapters and controllers to work
renogy rng-100db-h
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Weather-resistant and flexible
  • Impressive warranty
  • Also available in 50-watt or 160-watts

Renogy's flexible monocrystalline solar panel is a favorite of many veteran fans of portable solar power. It's an ideal kit if you're looking for something to power up your yacht, boat, trailer, RV, and even all kinds of curved rooftops. 

Designed and manufactured in the USA, the Renogy 100-watt flexible solar panels also feature IP68-rated waterproof junction box, making them perfect for outdoor use. They're 21% efficient thanks to the durable monocrystalline silion material that takes in a massive amount of power with a tiny footprint.    

It has built a reputation for being an all-purpose flexible solar panel because of its durability and power despite weighing only a measly 4 pounds. Being super lightweight and its capability of flexing up to 248 degrees means users can easily install these solar panels themselves on numerous applications under an hour. Any adhesive or sealant could do the trick. 

Renogy backs its flexible solar panels with excellent warranty - you get a standard 5-year warranty and 25 years for power, which is one of the longest warranty you can find among the best flexible solar panels out there.

PROS

  • Made of advanced polymer materials
  • 70% lighter than other solar panels
  • 95% thinner than rigid panels
  • ISO9001 certification

CONS

  • Pricier than competition
giaride 100-watt flexible solar panel
  • No-drilling installation
  • 21% efficiency
  • Ideal for numerous applications, even temporary placement
  • 18-month warranty

The GIARIDE flexible solar panel is crafted with high-efficiency monocrystalline cell and 100% waterproof material.

Unlike other panels that boast flexibility but only bend at a certain angle, GIARDE's offering delivers with a smooth curve of 30 degrees max. You can mount it on top of your camper, trailer, and even the roof of your sedan.

And because it weighs super-light and requires just ordinary adhesive to keep it in place, anyone can install these like a pro. GIARIDE even made it easier for users by pre-drilling the panels for faster and more secured mounting, making it perfect for temporary installations as well.

The junction box of GIARIDE's 100-watt flexible solar panels are extremely waterproof that many users were left impressed when the panels accidentally fell off their boats and still survive after. The advanced lamination with dust- and water-resistant thin film of the solar cell probably helped keep the kits virtually untouched as well.

Performance-wise, the 50-watt version can charge around 25 watts when facing the sun completely. Imagine how intensely powerful GIARIDE's 100-watt flexible solar panels could perform.

PROS

  • Comes with pre-drilled holes
  • Quick install and removal
  • Works even on overcast days
  • 30-degree curve

CONS

  • Long wires may peep out
windynation 100-watt
  • Monocrystalline cells
  • Ideal for smaller applications
  • Extremely thin design
  • Ability to charge with partial sun

If you're looking for a temporary flexible solar panel for a quick camping trip or other similar applications, WindyNation's 100-watt flexible solar panels can deliver enough power to charge your gadgets without breaking the bank. They're super thin - about 0.1 inches - making it perfect for various installations without having to worry about bulking up your car, camper, or yacht. 

The WindyNation 100-watt flexible solar panel is pretty inexpensive, which can be perfect for users just trying out the world of solar panels. It's also for people who consider price as the major deciding factor. The downside to this is that the kits are made of PTE, a polyester with shorter lifespan, so don't expect it to last beyond its 1-year product warranty.  

Installing this kit follows standard installation for flexible solar panels - you just need a good quality adhesive to stick it to your chosen spot. WindyNation's 100-watt model comes with blocking diode in the junction box to eliminate battery discharge or draining at night.

PROS

  • Dirt cheap
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • US-based company

CONS

  • Only 1-year product warranty
  • Uses PTE plastic
richsolar 50 watt solar panel
  • Uses Monocrystalline solar cells
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Incredible power output

Our pick for the value-for-money flexible solar panel, Richsolar's 80-watt model features ETFE coating, which feels solid and durable for its low price-point. It is a flexible solar panel, so it was expected for the kit to be super-lightweight (under 5 pounds) and extremely bendy (flexes 30 degree max).

This kit is designed for charging 12-volt lead-acid batteries and can easily put out 100 watts as advertised. Because of its flexibility, the Richsolar 80-watt flexible solar panels can be installed in various settings, from tents and huts, to boats, RVs, campers, and other applications with irregular or uneven surfaces.

Installation is also a breeze, without the need for tools. You can mount these flexible solar panels with your chosen adhesive in under 30 minutes. And if you want a more permanent installation, Richsolar already provided copper-eyelet holes ready to use.

PROS

  • Gets 80 to 90 watts consistently in full sun
  • Curves 30 degrees max
  • 100% recyclable
  • Extremely portable and supports multiple applications

CONS

  • Drops wattage on shaded areas
allpowers solar panel
  • Up to 23.5% efficiency
  • Made with monocrystalline solar cells
  • Available in 50-watts or 100-watts

There's an upside and downside to the ALLPOWERS flexible solar panel. On one side, it uses the high-efficiency SunPower solar cells that produces exceptional power output. On the other hand, it makes use of the lower-quality PTE polyester that is known to degrade faster in sunlight compared to the newer ETFE material. PTE is also cheaper, which brings down the price of this ALLPOWERS model completely. 

Now that you know what you're signing up for, ALLPOWERS does have other qualities to impress. It has an efficiency of up to 23.5%, which is on the higher range when it comes to flexible solar panels. The 100-watt ALLPOWERS flexible solar panel is also weatherproof, waterproof and highly durable thanks to its 6 laminate layers. 

ALLPOWERS bendable solar panels are able to curve to a maximum 30degree arc, which makes it a good fit for a wide range of vehicles, boats, tents, cabins, or even as a standalone panel.

PROS

  • Cheaper than other branded flexible solar panels
  • Includes 18-month product warranty
  • Bends up to 30 degrees max
  • Lightweight (4.7 pounds per panel) and highly portable

CONS

  • Uses PTE plastic

Factors To Consider When Buying the Best Flexible Solar Panels

The prices of flexible solar panels only include the solar panel kits. For this to work, you'll need a solar controller, deep cycle battery, battery connectors, and other optional accessories like extended solar panel wires. 

Like other types of solar panels, these super-thin, flexible solar panels have their own pros and cons. As such, you have to weigh these considerations before buying one of the best flexible solar panels we've compiled above:

  • Power - When choosing flexible solar panels, check those with high power outage, since the higher watts produced means you'll need fewer panels. Note that the power of flexible solar panels would also depend on application: Is it to power a camper at night, or simply to recharge gadgets? Flexible solar panels usually go around 100 to 400 watts.
  • Efficiency - The efficiency of flexible solar panels refers to the amount of sunlight the unit could convert into usable electrical energy. Generally, it is best to find a model with energy efficiency of 11% to 20%.
  • Semiconductors - One of the biggest differences between flexible solar panels and the thicker traditional ones is the production process. With flexible solar panels, a mix of semiconductors is sprayed on to an underlying layer. The three most common semiconductors are 1: Amorphous silicon (a-Si), 2: Cadmium telluride (CdTe), and 3: Copper, Indium, Gallium Deselenide (CIGS). You'll determine which semiconductors are used on a particular flexible solar panel once you see the suffix attached to the model name.
  • a-Si is the oldest and most commonly used, but it is notorious for aging quickly after direct sun exposure
  • CIGS is newer and uses Gallium to slow down the aging of solar cells
  • Flexibility - This refers to the maximum angling the panel could curve without breaking. Generally, 30 degrees is more than enough flex range for most applications.
  • Warranty - Even the best flexible solar panels do not last as long as rigid ones. As such, warranties usually go for 1 to 2 years. However, there are gems that may offer 5-year warranties, so watch out for these brands.

Other considerations like size and weight are also important, especially since every project is different and has varying requirements.

Wrap Up: Which is the Best Flexible Solar Panels for Me?

Note that this list of best flexible solar panels just touches the tip of an iceberg - there are dozens of other models that would be perfect. However, we stuck to 100-watt models to cater to beginners looking to give flexible solar panels a shot and these 7 could definitely deliver.

For those on a budget, ultra lightweight Richsolar 100-watt 12-volt flexible solar panels is one of the most inexpensive, yet durable and efficient flexible solar panels around. But if you're looking for a kit that could be used in virtually any possible application, check out the high-efficiency GIARIDE 100-Watt Flexible Solar Panels.

Our top pick is Renogy's RNG-100DB-H 100-Watt 12-Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel, since it is relatively affordable, powerful and has the most features out of all models we handpicked. Plus, this kit offers the longest warranty.

Make sure to weigh the considerations listed above, and if you can't get past the technical stuff, go with the one with the best warranty, since it is often a good indicator that the company is confident about their product's durability.

About the Author Billy

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