Looking to install a solar power system on an unconventional or round roof? Flexible solar panels are the solution for you. Unlike rigid panels, the former are very light, slim, and bendable so that they can assume irregular shapes and fit any home, RV, or boat.
What’s more, some flexible solar panels can be rolled just like a sleeping bag in order to fit neatly into any backpack or vehicle. These are perfect for camping or travelling off the grid and they can keep your devices charged indefinitely.
What Are the Best Flexible Solar Panels in 2020?
The development of solar power has soared over the past two decades. Prices have dropped to a manageable level, while constant innovation has ensured the existence of a wide variety of products for every customer. To help you make your way through the possible options, we’ve put together and reviewed some of the best flexible solar panels on the market in 2020. (Looking to make your own solar panel? Check out these solar panel kits you can get shipped directly to you!)
RENOGY 100W Extremely Flexible Solar Panel
Renogy is a well-esteemed manufacturer of solar panels, which is why you’ll find their products in most reviews. Their 100W 12V version of a flexible solar panel is almost 95% thinner than rigid panels and weighs four times less. At a mere 4.2lb in weight, this item is a great travelling companion, as well as powerful enough to charge most devices and small appliances.
If most flexible panels can be safely bent to about 30 degrees, the panel by Renogy can be flexed up to an impressive 248 degrees for enhanced versatility. If you have a van or cabin with an irregular roof or if you need something to fit perfectly with your yacht or other curvy surface, this is the right panel for the job.
The Renogy panel is easily rolled out and can be attached to a surface using silicone structural adhesive for a more permanent setup. It can be used in poor weather conditions, heavy rain, wind, snow, and very high temperatures.
- 95% Thinner and 70% lighter than rigid solar panels
- Can be bent to 248 degrees, which is at least five times more than with other flexible panels
- Fits perfectly with any curvy surface and is easily installed
- Weather-proof and tested for durability
- Slightly more expensive than other options
ECO-WORTHY 150W Flexible Solar Panel
For flexible solar panels that come close to the previous model but are significantly more affordable, Eco-Worthy offers a decent alternative. These 150W 18V panels are equally powerful, albeit slightly heavier than their counterparts by Renogy, at 7.94lb each. Although they are not as thin as the latter, their thickness does not exceed 0.9in, which is still considerably less than with rigid panels.
The flexible solar panels by Eco-Worthy can be bent to a 30 degree angle, which makes them a good choice for RVs, cabins, boats, yachts, as well as cars, trucks, and tents. They are most effective in areas that are too crowded or irregular to be suitable for traditional aluminum and glass models, while their 32 efficient monocrystalline solar cells are enough to power any small to medium device.
Each panel can be quickly installed using Caravan Adhesive, although the latter is not included in the package. Both the panel and the junction box are proofed for extreme weather conditions and can safely be used outdoors.
- Very light solar panels and much thinner than rigid models
- Easily transported and installed
- Can bend to a 30 degree angle to fit most irregularly shaped roofs
- Less flexible than other options
- Not as durable as some of the other options
SUAOKI 150W Solar Panel Flexible Cell
Suaoki’s version of flexible solar panels is just as impressive as the other products mentioned here and it comes with an added 50W for a total of 150W per panel. The technology used is that of monocrystalline PV cells with DF technology, which offers more effective energy absorption even when there isn’t a lot of sunlight available throughout the day.
The flexible panel by Suaoki bends to 30 degrees to fit most curvy roofs. Its applications range from trailers to RVs, marine, trucks, cabins, tents, and even mining. When additional energy is needed, up to 6 similar solar panels can be connected in parallel, series, or a combination of the two. Each piece weighs just over 7lb, which makes it very easy to transport and handle. In addition, the 4 pre-drilled metal mounting holes turn installation onto any surface into a breeze.
- Powerful, but light solar panels, at 150W per 7.1lb in weight
- Can flex to a 30 degree angle to fit irregular surfaces
- Frameless design with 4 pre-drilled holes for easy installation
- Weather-proof; suitable for extended outdoor use
- Does not bend as far as some of the other options
UNI-SOLAR PVL-136 Flexible Solar Panel
The PowerBond flexible solar panel by Uni-Solar is a thin film that you can roll in and out when needed. Unlike other options presented here, the panel is fully bendable and can take the shape of virtually any surface it is placed on. With a PV output of 136W at 24V, it’s also powerful enough to charge most mobile devices and even some small appliances.
The film is only 0.6in thick and can extend for up to 216in in length. It can be rolled up and packed for camping or it can be used for more permanent solar power systems, in combination with additional similar panels. In the latter case, the installation is as easy as peeling and sticking the film, which is especially suitable with curvy metal roofing.
Although it is one of the thinnest flexible solar panels on the market, the PowerBond by Uni-Solar is tested for extreme weather conditions and fairly durable. It can be used in areas with heavy rain and its efficiency is not impeded by high temperatures.
- One of the most flexible solar panels currently on the market
- Can be rolled together and packed for camping
- Sufficient PV output to charge most devices
- Weather-proof against rain and high temperatures
- Slightly more expensive than other options
GENSSI 100W Flexible PV Solar Panel (x2)
Considerably more affordable than all of the previous options mentioned here, the flexible solar panels by Genssi come in sets of 2 or 4, depending on your energy requirements. Each panel features a PV output of 100W, but is fairly thin, weighs no more than 7lb, and can be bent to a 30 degree angle.
In spite of their lower price, these flexible solar panels are reliable and EL tested. They are guaranteed to form no hot spots that would otherwise reduce their efficiency and they are made to function well even in heavy rain, high wind, or great snow loads. In addition, each panel comes equipped with a bypass diode that can reduce significant power drops caused by shade and increase performance in poorly-lit environments.
- Much more affordable than other high-end flexible solar panels
- Thin, light-weight, and bendable to a 30 degree angle
- Reliable even when it doesn’t get much direct sunlight throughout the day
- Weather-proof for high temperature, rain, wind, and snow loads
- Not as durable as other options