Best Flexible Solar Panel Kits – Review and Guide

Introduction

In today’s economy, many people are looking for ways to save money. And solar energy is a great option for saving money and reducing your environmental footprint!

Flexible solar panels have some benefits over other types of solar panels, such as a conventional rigid solar panel. They’re lightweight, easy to install, and you can even use them on cars or boats!

Whether you need flexible solar panels for your home or just want an affordable way to charge electronics while camping, this article will tell you all you need to know about the best flexible solar panels available, to help you when it comes to choosing what kind of panel kit you want.

Top 5 Flexible Solar Panels

Excellent Efficiency
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Lightweight Solar Panel Kit
8.5/10 Our Score

The Renogy 100W Flexible Solar Panel is anything but traditional. It’s a great solution for marine use or placement on top of recreational vehicles, with its ability to flex around almost any surface and its lightweight construction!

Weighing less than typical panels this lightweight product won’t add too much burden when installing it onto curved surfaces, as well as providing power on unconventional structures such as teardrop trailers.

This 100W solar panel is a choice for RVs, boats, campers, and other similar applications because of its high power and compact size. It also provides outstanding efficiency per space. Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panels are ideal for establishing a new project or expanding an existing one.

About this item:

  • Brand: Renogy
  • Material: Monocrystalline Silicon
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 40.9 x 21.0 x 1.4 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.5 Pounds
  • Style: Solar Panel
Weather Resistant
SunPower 50 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline High-Efficiency Solar Panel
8.5/10 Our Score

SunPower has designed and manufactured a flexible solar panel that not only provides lightweight and portable power but is also durable and weather resistant. This product is made from Maxeon solar cells which make it one of the most efficient products on the market today. 

The flexible solar panel has a Micro Junction box, which meets IP67 standards for providing protection against dust and water particles. This high-quality product is easy to store and take with you anywhere, making it great for use in many situations where installation would be difficult – such as camping trips!

About this item:

  • Brand: SunPower
  • Material: Monocrystalline Silicon
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 25.5 x 21.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.99 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: 50 Watts
82% Lighter
Go Power! GP-FLEX-200 200W Flexible Mono Crystalline Solar Kit
9/10 Our Score

Flexible solar panels should be able to withstand the harsh conditions of marine and truck journeys. The surface of flexible panels is less affected by dirt and water, so they can also be used outdoors.

The Go Power! GP-FLEX-200 200W Flexible Mono Crystalline Solar Kit is a durable panel that curves up to 30 degrees, making it great for use on curved roofs.

The kit includes everything needed for installation, including mounts and cables that attach to the battery bank. This flexible solar panel is 82% lighter than a framed solar panel and more durable for traveling throughout countries or parking in harsh weather conditions.

About this item:

  • Brand: Go Power!
  • Material: Monocrystalline Silicon
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 41.7 x 42.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Item Weight: 5.8 Pounds
  • Cover Included: Valterra Power Us, Llc GP-FLEX-200 Solar Kit 200W Flexible
Superior Portability
Sunyee ATEM POWER 200W 12V Flexible Solar Panel
9.5/10 Our Score

This is a high-quality semi-flexible panel that does not need to be mounted on a roof or other hard surfaces. It can be used in any position and even lays flat without losing power output.

Made out of a durable ETFE film with a lightly textured coating that features greater solar absorption efficiency, this panel is also waterproof and dustproof which means it can withstand any harsh conditions – just what you need for camping trips!

With its IP-68 rated waterproof body, there’s no worry about your investment getting ruined by the elements.

About this item:

  • Brand: ATEM POWER
  • Material: Monocrystalline Silicon
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 19.49 x 14.96 x 4.72 inches
  • Item Weight: 7.9 Kilograms
  • Connector Type: USB
Easy Peel Installation
Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL 136 Watt 24 Volt Flexible Solar Panel
8.2/10 Our Score

The Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL 136 Watt 24 Volt Flexible Solar Panel is a triple junction type panel, which means it can convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently. The lightweight and durable nature of this product makes installation easy, as one can attach it directly to metal roofing pans without the need for any racking system.

Once you install on your building’s exterior walls or ceilings (or even on a portable structure), you will have power just like with a rigid panel!

About this item:

  • Brand: Unisolar
  • Material: Monocrystalline Silicon
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 216 x 0.6 x 15.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 17 Pounds
  • Maximum Voltage: 24 Volts

Can Solar Panels Be Flexible?

The answer is “yes!”

The increasing popularity of the flexible solar panel is thanks to their lightweight design and flexibility, which makes them easily portable.

So they are perfect for either the camper who wants to charge their devices or someone who wants a power source for their boat or RV.

How do flexible panels work?

Flexible panels work just like regular solar panels – they convert sunlight into direct current electricity.

This electricity is then used to power whatever is wired to the panel. Flexible solar panels can be used for many different purposes because of their flexible design, such as powering your home or a camping trip.

Are Flexible Solar Panels Any Good?

Flexible vs. Rigid

Another question you may be asking yourself is whether or not flexible solar panels are worth the investment. Flexible solar panels are still more expensive than traditional rigid panels, but they are becoming more affordable as prices of solar cells drop.

These panels are also more versatile because they can be used in more places due to their lightweight design.

Types of Flexible Solar Panels

There are two major types of flexible solar panels: one type is made up of thin cells and is either monocrystalline or polycrystalline.

The other type uses organic cells made up of polymers which work better in places where there is plenty of bright sunshine and high temperatures like Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico.

Monocrystalline Flexible Solar Panels

Monocrystalline flexible solar panels come in two varieties – amorphous and microcrystalline – that offer different advantages depending on where you live.

Amorphous cells have the shortest lifespan but give off more energy during the day while microcrystalline can handle colder temperatures so they’re better for colder climates.

Monocrystalline is typically one of the best options if you need to transport your panel easily or if it will be used in low-light conditions.

Polycrystalline Flexible Solar Panels

Polycrystalline flexible solar panels offer a compromise between cost and efficiency. They’re better in hot climates and also have higher efficiencies than monocrystalline cells.

These panels are available in two different types: standard and high performance. The standard type is cheaper but less efficient, while the high-performance ones are more expensive but produce more power on average over time.

Organic Polymer Flexible Solar Panels

If you need flexible solar panels for areas where there is plenty of bright sunshine and high temperatures these types of panels are the best choice because they are more resistant to heat compared to monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells.

Thin Film Solar Panels

A thin-film solar panel can be an excellent option for people who need flexible, durable solar panels that can withstand outdoor elements. They use cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), which means they’re more efficient than other types of solar panels!

Finally, thin-film solar panels will work in any light conditions because their design allows them to absorb light from any angle, so they are great for use anywhere!

Solar Technology

Flexible solar panels are cutting-edge technology, using materials that have been adapted from those used in rigid solar panels. These include mono-crystalline silicon, poly-crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide materials, organic materials including carbon materials, and dye-sensitized materials.

The market for flexible solar panels is dominated by two distinct types of solar cells: crystalline silicon and thin-film.

The crystalline silicon technology is divided into two types: polycrystalline and monocrystalline, which may be placed in thinner layers to provide them with flexibility while retaining excellent solar properties, making them perfect for RV roofs that are moderately curved.

Thin-film technology has photovoltaic layers that are about 300 times thinner than those of crystalline panels, making them super flexible so they can be rolled up for storage while retaining their self-adhesive surface properties. However, as wattage is considered, thin-film solar panels are way behind crystalline panels of the same size.

For Vehicles

Flexible Panel on RV

Flexible solar panels are becoming popular for automobiles because they are lightweight and flexible.

If you’re looking for a solar panel for your car or RV, there are flexible options available!

There is a roll-up type of panel that’s designed to stick onto the roof of a vehicle using the adhesive backing. This type of solar panel has an amorphous design that is at its best when exposed to direct sunlight.

Another option is made up of silicon cells adhered directly onto smooth surfaces like an RV roof. These types of cells typically have a monocrystalline design which works better in colder weather, giving higher performance compared to other flexible cells.

For Boats

Solar Panel on Boat

If you spend a lot of time on your boat, marine flexible solar panels may be the best option for you.

Why marine use? Because they’re designed to withstand marine conditions that boats operate in, like high winds and salt water.

And unlike rigid silicon cells that can degrade quickly in these conditions, marine panels are waterproof, durable, and lightweight.

They require no maintenance other than occasional cleaning – and they produce more power per square foot than any other type of panel!

For Homes

Flexible solar panels for your household are great if you’re looking to save money on your electricity bills throughout the year.

These flexible solar cells can be easily attached to the roof of your home and will not take up any extra space compared to traditional rooftop panels.

A flexible panel will typically come with several micro energy converters that connect multiple flexible solar cells together as one unit. So your solar array can cover the household’s energy needs, just the same as using conventional solar panels!

For Hiking

Flexible Solar Panels for Hiking

Flexible solar panels for camping are a great option if you’re looking to charge your devices while on the go!

These flexible cells have an amorphous design that can be easily wrapped around tree limbs when camping or placed on your bag when hiking.

Some flexible solar panels come with battery storage, which is helpful if you’re going to be camping or backpacking for long periods of time without any access to power outlets. This will allow you to charge your devices while hiking during the day and also use the charged batteries at night when camping!

Roll-Up Solar Panels

Roll-up Solar Panels

Another option is roll-up solar panels. These flexible panels are made with very flexible cells that can be rolled up and stored.

These panels don’t usually come with batteries and do not work so well in cooler environments. Much like other flexible solar panels, these flexible sheets work best in hot weather because of the material’s flexibility and ability to dissipate heat.

Semi-Flexible Solar Panels

Semi-flexible flexible solar panels work better in cooler climates than flexible amorphous panels and roll-up solar panels, but they can’t be stored as easily due to their more rigid design.

Semi-flexible solar cells also have a lower power output per square inch of surface area compared with other types of photovoltaic cells because the semi-flexible film is less efficient at converting light into electricity.

The cost of semi-flexible solar panels can be higher than other types of flexible solar panels too. So choosing a fully flexible or a rigid solar panel might be the better option.

Durability of Flexible Solar Panels

The durability of flexible panels is affected by their flexibility and they aren’t as durable as traditional rigid panels.

Although flexible cells have a long lifespan when used properly, their design means they are more likely to be portable and used in multiple locations which can lead to damage if dropped or otherwise mishandled.

Pros and Cons of Flexible Solar Panels

Benefits of flexible solar panels

Flexible solar panels are an eco-friendly option for many homeowners who don’t have access to the grid but want power at their fingertips. Benefits include:

Versatility

Flexible solar panels provide more design freedom for architects and builders who wish to incorporate them into their building structures. This is because flexible solar panels allow the designer the flexibility of using different shapes and sizes in order to integrate into non-flat roofs, curved surfaces, or other structures.

Easy installation

Since flexible solar panels are lightweight, they’re also easier to install than other heavier alternatives. In some cases, the flexible panel might even require less rack space too which can mean more power production!

Depending on the flexible solar panels and the location they’re installed, installation can be as simple as attaching them to a roof with adhesive. No matter how they’re installed, flexible solar panels are easier to manage than other larger systems.

Reduced Cost

Flexible solar panels provide a much lower installation cost as they do not require racks or mechanical fastening devices, leaving behind little to no footprint on the roof where it is installed.

In addition, flexible modules can be installed close together which results in greater efficiency in the space available. 

Portable

Flexible solar panels are easily portable, which means they can easily be moved by hand, rolled up, and re-installed elsewhere if required at any time. Some flexible solar panels even allow for the installation on irregular surfaces such as those found at a construction site or on an airplane.

Size and weight

Flexible solar panels are lightweight and come in many sizes to fit any number of roofs and projects perfectly. Flexible solar panels are less bulky than conventional systems which have heavier mounts, frames, and gussets.

Drawbacks of Flexible Solar Panels

Some the of advantages of flexible panels can also be a disadvantage. For example, flexible solar panels can be more susceptible to damage from storms and wind due to their lightweight construction.

Also, flexible panels can be less durable than rigid silicon cells due to their flexibility.

Whether flexible panels are the best choice for you will depend on where and how you plan to use them.

Efficiency of Flexible Solar Panels

In the race to produce solar power, thin-film panels have been coming up short due to their lower efficiency compared to traditional rigid panels.

Today’s monocrystalline or polycrystalline options average about 16%. With this in mind, you’ll need more of them for your project if it requires a high amount of energy production per square foot like many homes do today.

Wattage of Flexible Solar Panels

The 100-watt flexible solar panel is the most popular type of panel. The power output from a 100-watt solar panel is enough to provide up to 40% or more of an average home’s electricity needs.

The 200-watt flexible solar panel is not as common because they require more space and also cost, but they do produce 200 watts of energy which is enough for many homes with moderate electrical usage.

300-watt flexible solar panel has been available in Europe for many years now, but their price tag has kept them out of reach for American consumers. A 300-watt flexible solar panel that receives 8 hours of sunlight per day will produce almost 2 kilowatt-hours!

Lifespan of flexible solar panels

Solar panels typically have a lifespan ranging from 25-30 years or more if cared for properly. There is no reason that flexible solar panels will not also last this long.

The best way to ensure that your system lasts as well is by regular inspection and cleaning. You should be doing this at least once per year because otherwise minor damages can lead us towards bigger issues if not fixed quickly.

To increase the life of your panels you should only use manufacturer-approved cleaning materials when cleaning your panels by hand or using a pressure washer.

Solar Panel on a Camping Van

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you walk on a flexible solar panel?

It is not recommended to walk on flexible solar panels because they can break. There are flexible solar panels that are designed to be walked on, particularly those for marine use, but they can still break if someone puts too much weight on them or falls on them.

With these solar panels, flexible means flexible joints rather than flexibility throughout all of the material used.

How long do flexible solar panels last?

They last for about 20-30 years before a flexible solar panel needs to be replaced if cared for properly. Their lifespan will depend on where they are placed and the conditions they are exposed to.

Are flexible solar panels any good?

Flexible solar panels are a great option because they are flexible and can be used in many different places. They can be a much better option than traditional panels because they are flexible, durable, semi-transparent, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing.

Do flexible solar panels get hot?

Flexible solar panel tends to overheat sometimes, however they have better resistance to heat than traditional solar panels. These panels heat up more during the daytime because that is when they are receiving the most light, but are still generally fine to touch.

How do you attach a flexible solar panel to an RV roof?

Mounting a flexible solar panel to RV roofs is easy because flexible solar panels do not usually require screws. The flexible solar panel should be attached with a strong water-resistant adhesive, and it is recommended to use foam against the roof to create an air gap. This will also allow for better heat release.

How do you fix a flexible solar panel?

In order to fix a flexible solar panel, you need to find the panel that is damaged. We’d recommend that you contact the manufacturer or a professional solar company to check and fix a damaged solar panel.

How do you clean flexible solar panels?

Cleaning a flexible solar panel requires you to use a mixture of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. They should be scrubbed using soft cloths in order to ensure that there are no streaks left behind, which could reduce their efficiency. You should then dry them with canned air, or lint-free wipes.

Where to buy flexible solar panels?

You can review and browse a selection of quality flexible solar panels on our website

Can you cut flexible solar panels?

Cutting flexible solar panels is not recommended. Whilst there are flexible solar panels that can be cut, we’d recommend speaking to a professional before you start chopping away!

Are flexible solar panels durable?

Flexible solar panels are durable, and they can bend without breaking. They should be able to be used in all sorts of conditions, however, they do need to be handled properly so they don’t get damaged.