With time, the number of gadgets used by the average user keeps going up. You may be using gadgets like laptops, tablets, digital cameras, trimmers, and so on just to get on with your daily life. Now, the thing is most of these gadgets run on electricity and they have to be recharged periodically. A practical solution could be using flexible solar panels. These flexible solar panels are highly adjustable and don’t take too much space. You can easily get them fitted inside your backpack.
What do you do when you have to stay away from home in a place where regular electric supply is scarce and you still need to use these gadgets? You may also experience situations of a total power outage, caused by a severe natural calamity such as a cyclone. One option is using some spare batteries. However, that may not be prudent when you use a lot of such portable gadgets. Using solar energy is a viable alternative.
Best 7 Foldable Solar Panels
1. Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is designed to allow it to be installed effortlessly on uneven surfaces. You can get it installed on your roofs, boats, or on your RVs. Made from premier quality polymer, Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is super light. It is 70% thinner than any other conventional solar panels and thereby making it an ideal choice for backpackers and travelers. Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is super strong. It can withstand the 5400 Pa weight force placed on its top. It can also withstand 2400 Pa wind force and that means, you can easily get them placed outside and it will work just fine. It weighs just around 4 pounds and that means, it can be transported easily and effortlessly to anywhere you want.
2. SunPower 110 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
SunPower 110-Watt Flexible Solar Panels are designed for RVs. Forget about those top-heavy solar panels that are hard to reposition in a camper van, rather you need to put your trust in this SunPower 110-Watt Flexible Solar Panel. These flexible solar panels don’t cause much wind-resistance and can be fastened with standard tapes which are just remarkable, to say the least. Place corrugated plastic under these SunPower 110-Watt Flexible Solar Panels and they will stay put throughout the journey. Made from top-grade polymer, SunPower 110-Watt Flexible Solar Panels are extremely lightweight. Its solar panels are all made from Maxeon Gen III prime back contact cells. To get the batteries recharged with these SunPower 110-Watt Flexible Solar Panels, you need to use an MPPT type controller and it will get the job done. However, the performance of this SunPower 110-Watt Flexible Solar Panel is tied to some external factors like – direct access to sunlight, duration, weather conditions, and more.
3. ECO-WORTHY Flexible Solar Panel
ECO-WORTHY Flexible Solar Panel is a highly efficient solar panel that is capable of producing enough energy to keep your gadget alive even in the remotest parts of the world. Compared to glass-framed solar panels, ECO-WORTHY Flexible Solar Panels are 20% lighter and weigh just around 3.9lbs which is remarkable by any standard. It can be bent 30 degrees without breaking it in the process. 12V lead-acid battery can best be recharged with these ECO-WORTHY Flexible Solar Panels. The coolest thing about this ECO-WORTHY Flexible Solar Panel is that it does not need any such maintenance. It does not retain any dust and the credit must be given to its nonstick surface. Compared to other solar panels of the same category, ECO-WORTHY Flexible Solar Panel can generate 15% more power as these solar panels come fitted with cutting-edge technology.
4. Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel 100W
Recommended over other similar but expensive solar panels, Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel 100W is in the league of its own. The biggest advantage of using this Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel is that it does not need any such maintenance. Easy to clean, Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel is highly resistant to temperate fluctuation and is water-proof as well and thus making it ideal for your outdoor expeditions. Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel weighs just around 4 pounds and can be installed in those areas where traditional solar panels can’t be installed. No matter how uneven or irregular the surface is, Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel can be installed there without making much fuss. Made from ETFE, Tp-solar Flexible Solar Panel is known for its dirt resistance feature. It can easily be mounted on motorhomes, yacht, trucks, tents, and other similar surfaces.
5. Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel
Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel is one of its kind flexible solar panels. It has got Bifacial Solar Panel on both sides and that means, it can generate power irrespective of the side facing the sun. Ideal for outdoor use, Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel is extremely lightweight and weighs just around 4 lbs which is just incredible. Offering stable performance, Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel can generate 22% more power and can operate at an optimal level even in dim light. Winnewsun Flexible Solar Panel can be bent to a great degree without damaging the solar panels in the process.
6. HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline High-Flexible Solar Panel
HQST 100-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline High-Flexible Solar Panel is designed to last long and can be mounted on a wide variety of surfaces. Designed for the marine environment, HQST 100-Watt Flexible Solar Panel can be flexed 30-degree angle without causing any damage to the solar panels. Weighs just around 4 pounds, HQST 100-Watt Flexible Solar Panel is extremely easy to install and can be transported without much trouble. HQST 100-Watt Flexible Solar Panel is highly resistant to impacts and is highly transparent. You can place it outdoor and it will continue to operate at the optimal level given its frame is made from Corrosion-resistant aluminum.
7. Newpowa 100W 100 Watt Semi-Flex Solar Panel
Newpowa 100W 100-Watt Semi-Flex Solar Panel comes standard with IP68 rated junction box and that means, it is 100% waterproof. It can withstand harsh chemicals and even extreme fluctuations in the temperate can’t adversely affect its overall performance. Extremely flexible and lightweight, Newpowa 100W 100-Watt Semi-Flex Solar Panel is designed for off-grid living. It can bend up to 30 degrees. Its solar panels are harnessing the power of ETFE laminating technology. This innovative technology allows sunlight to penetrate deep and this is what helps Newpowa 100W 100-Watt Semi-Flex Solar Panel to produce more energy. It comes with a 5 years transferable power output warranty which is an added advantage.
Rise Of The Flexible Solar Panels
Solar energy is not exactly a recent innovation. You can find solar energy-driven devices in the market and in some households, people use large and fixed solar panels to generate power. However, you cannot really carry such bulky and large-sized solar panels with you! The solution is using flexible solar panels.
The flexible solar panels are not made of steel or aluminum. These units have solar cells embedded into flexible backing. Compared to regular solar panels, these units tend to be way more lightweight and thinner. Thanks to the flexible build, these panels can be bent and you can set them up easily. The majority of flexible solar panel units have embedded standard MC4 connectors. This makes them easy to use.
The Flexible Solar Panel Variants
Broadly speaking, the flexible solar panels can be segregated into 2 main types- crystalline silicon and thin film.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
In the Thin-film solar panels, the photovoltaic material remains embedded on the surface. This is in stark contrast with crystalline silicon solar cells found in the typical solar panels.
This type of solar panel is known for its good flexibility. The Thin-film cells can be rolled and bent without issues. They can be used on surfaces like metal and glass easily. The thin-film solar panels are easy to use but that does not mean crystalline silicon is out of vogue! The former tend to be less efficient than the latter. You also have to think of the fact that the materials used like cadmium telluride are toxic. This is why thin-film isn’t widespread yet. In the future, however, this may change.
Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels
There is no denying the majority of solar panels manufactured these days are based on silicon. The solar cells are either polycrystalline or monocrystalline. In both types, wafers of silicon are cut and then cells get wired together, for forming panels.
The individual wafers are not flexible by default. However, if the wafers are cut thin, they become flexible without cutting down on the photovoltaic properties. So, you get a solar cell with limited bending capability. You cannot put this on par with thin-film solar. Even then it can be used in many applications including outdoor usage cases. These panels can be put on top of vehicles as well.
Besides, these solar cells can be made using high-efficiency monocrystalline, much like the typical solar panels.
Your Guide To Buying The Right Flexible Solar Panels
To buy the right solar panel for personal usage, you need to assess a few aspects well. These are:
As a matter of fact, the flexible solar panels have variable power output, within the range of 50- 160 watts. The power output serves as a reference to the solar panel’s electrical current output. The power output can be deciphered by a number of cells as well as their quality. The flexible panels are usually 20-27 inches wide. The length varies between 20 and 60 inches. You have to think of the space and power consumption needs when buying such panels, as it is.
Industry Certification Compliance
When you buy a regular solar panel, at least in the US market, it is likely to have some type of industry-quality certifications. These may include manufacturing quality certifications as well as safety certifications like ISO 9001 and IEC 61215. This may be jurisdiction-specific as well. The manufacturers get discounts by adhering to these standards. The reality is flexible solar panels are still not much used in stationary applications and so they may be shipped with lower quality standards. You may not equate certifications with a guarantee of product quality. However, they ensure a certain level of manufacturing standard.
ETFE over PET
TheFlexible solar panels are manufactured by putting the solar cells between polymer layers. The better-quality panels are made with ETFE or ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. It is somewhat better than PET when it comes to light transmittance. The durability of ETFE is also better and you have to think of this aspect. The solar panels do get exposed to weather elements yearlong.