Best Flexible Solar Panels – Top Reviews for 2019

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.

RENOGY 100W Extremely Flexible Solar Panel

GENSSI 100W Flexible PV Solar Panel (x2)

ECO-WORTHY 150W Flexible Solar Panel

What Are the Best Flexible Solar Panels in 2019?

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 2019. (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

Editor's Pick

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.

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Slightly more expensive than other options

ECO-WORTHY 150W Flexible Solar Panel

Most Popular

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.

PROS:

  • 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
  • Weather-proof

CONS:

  • 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.

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • 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.

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Slightly more expensive than other options

GENSSI 100W Flexible PV Solar Panel (x2)

Best Value

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.

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Not as durable as other options

Why Use Flexible Solar Panels?

Why Use Flexible Solar Panels

Although many people rely on solar energy to power their homes and households (and even their campsites, if you include portable solar panels and portable solar generators), there has been a growing demand for flexible solar panels. This heightened interest comes especially from those who prefer to travel, go camping, or generally spend a lot of time outdoors, in the bosom of nature.

Flexible solar panels are a handy and affordable solution for those who want to go completely off the grid, as well as for those who enjoy doing it on occasion. These products can easily keep your phone recharged, power small appliances or an RV, all without the nasty repercussions of fossil fuels.

Whether you’re planning on a calm and relaxing fishing trip or an extended camping stay with several members of your family, flexible solar panels have several unique selling points. They are light, affordable, and easy to handle due to their minimal weight and supple design.

Whenever you reach your destination, be it outdoors or indoors, you can take them out and put them to work on any surface, horizontal, vertical, even curved. If the sun changes position, you can also relocate the panels so that you get the most exposure and electricity throughout the day. (And if you’re looking for some advice on how to wire your favorite solar panels, click here!)

Are There Any Drawbacks to Flexible Solar Panels?

Like other specialty or marine solar panels, the niche of flexible solar panels is not yet ready to take over powering an entire household. Their lower efficiency compared to regular PV systems makes them more appropriate for light applications, such as powering an RV system or several gadgets on a camping trip.

For instance, three 100W panels will be just about enough to power a mini fridge, several LED lights, charge your laptop and phone, as well as maintain basic RV systems. However, being able to also turn on a small TV is highly unlikely, unless most of the other devices are turned off.

With a thickness that can vary between just a couple of millimeters, roughly 0.08 inches, and 6 mm (0.2 inches), what these panels lack in efficiency, they make in terms of mobility. They can weigh anywhere from 3 to 6 pounds per panel, so you can even take them with you in your fishing boat.

Before You Buy Flexible Solar Panels

Before You Buy Flexible Solar Panels

There are several features you should look at twice before making a purchase. Because of how they are engineered, PV cells for flexible solar panels differ from regular ones when it comes to output and efficiency, as well as the materials they are made from. Consequently, their installation and uses are also different.

High Wattage

Most small cabins living off the grid can manage with a system of around 400W (or 0.4 kW) in PV output. The industry average is around 100W per panel, but this can obviously vary from one product to another. As a rule, you’ll want to go for the highest wattage and efficiency rate.

Flexibility vs. Durability

The more you get of either flexibility or durability, the less you have of the other. However, water and weather resistance are a must. Most flexible solar panels are easily bendable within a 30-degree angle, while also being extremely durable. Some can flex in over 200-degree arcs, but you should not try to sacrifice durability for malleability – the benefits of the latter are not worth the drawbacks of not having the former.

Is It Plug and Play?

Another great advantage of these mobile PV cells is their installation. They come with pre-drilled mounting holes that facilitate an intuitive, straightforward setup. You don’t need special tools for them – a wrench, screwdriver, and sealant are usually more than enough, if required at all.

Is It the Right Size and Weight?

Size and weight can be important for people who plan to go camping on a weight budget. Although flexible solar panels are generally incredibly thin and portable, their weight can still vary from 2 to 4 and up to 6 pounds. Naturally, this does not matter as much when travelling with an RV, but for camping purposes, it might make a difference.

Is One Panel Enough or Will You Need More?

Depending on how many devices you intend to power, you might need 1 to 4 100W panels to charge your batteries and stay connected. The best way to do it, however, is to calculate your own needs and then cross-reference this with the power and efficiency of different panels. You may need a solar inverter or other component devices as well.

With flexible solar panels, living off the grid is now faster and easier than it’s ever been. All you need is an RV or a camping setup and several PV panels to keep your batteries charged. Because of their increased mobility, these can be installed and uninstalled in a matter of minutes, allowing you to either trace the sun for maximum exposure or keep exploring as intended.

4.5 rating
Based on 29 reviews

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