Power Your Next Adventure with Flexible Solar Panels
Electrical power has become so essential that rarely anyone can go without it for a few hours, let alone days. It’s especially important that we have it in remote places so we can stay ‘connected to the world.’ That’s why wherever you go, you need some kind of a power generator that will enable you to power all of your electronics. Many solutions were introduced for this purpose over the years, and one of them is the flexible solar panel.
What Are the Advantages of an Off-Grid System?
Solar systems have many benefits that make them the ideal choice in various circumstances.
- Eco-Friendly – By installing a solar system, you’re reducing your overall carbon footprint because they’re a much more environmentally friendly option compared to fossil fuel;
- Low Cost – A great solution if you’re trying to save money in the long run although the initial cost might seem too much;
- Great Solution for Emergencies – Even if you have power, off-grid solar kits are a great alternative because you’ll have power even in case of an emergency;
- Low Maintenance – They don’t require much, just the occasional cleaning will do;
- Easy Installation – Because of their portability and flexibility, solar systems are easy to install and they usually come with a step-by-step guide manual, which means you can install them yourself. You can find kits that contain everything you need and don’t require special skills or tools.
What Are Flexible Solar Panels?
Now, you probably know the conventional, kind of bulky and flat solar panels. In contrast, flexible panels are easily portable because they’re thin, and as their name suggests, bendable. This being said, you can take them with you anywhere you go, making them a great power solution for your trips because they can be installed on RVs, boats, and anywhere else you might need power. They’re also much cheaper than their flat counterparts, and their price depends on their wattage. They come in a variety of choices and you can find quality off grid solar power kits for homes and outdoor adventures.
When it comes to the way they work, it’s pretty much the same as conventional panels because they use the same photovoltaic (PV) technology. This means that they generate power from direct sunlight that’s absorbed by the material of which they’re made. This is why solar panels are made in black or blue so they can absorb as much sunlight as possible. The wattage of flexible panels is generally lesser than those installed to power entire homes which is in part due to their smaller size. The power can also be stored in a battery and used according to your needs.
Types of Flexible Solar Panels
The types refer to the material which the panels are made of. There are three of them that are most commonly used.
This is the most common material used for both flexible and flat solar panels, with the main difference being in thickness. Because they need to be lightweight, the silicon wafers are cut so thin that they give the illusion of being flexible because they can bend. The panel contains crystalline, photovoltaic cells and it’s placed between plastic protective layers for greater durability.
Thin Film Panels
This is a recent method where the photovoltaic material is printed or pasted on a thin surface, which can be anything from cloth to aluminium sheets. Because there’s no silicone for protection, they are considered to be less durable than the crystalline ones but the technology is still being developed. The advantage is that they’re even more flexible and allow to be rolled up, which means they’re lighter and easy to store.
Organic Cells Panels
Solar panels made of organic material are fairly new solutions. This type of panel isn’t yet perfected but more quality panels are expected to be produced with graphene electrodes.
What to Look for in a Solar Panel?
Low-quality off grid solar power kits for homes, RVs, and boats can be found cheaply. The problem is that they won’t last long and as soon as you install them, you’ll notice some issues, such as damaged or overlapping cells, sharp edges, and junction boxes that aren’t sealed adequately so they allow corrosion. So, make sure that you’re buying from trusted manufacturers that know their job and subject their panels to testing to ensure high quality. Before making a purchase, you can even look online for reviews and see what people have to say about particular brands. This is often the most accurate information you can get because they’re sharing their experiences with a specific solar panel.
Some things that you should consider when choosing a flexible solar panel are:
- Power – This is measured in watts and it’s the first thing that people look at when buying. More power means you can plug in more devices and power them for a longer period of time as well.
- Durability – How durable an off-grid solar system kit is will greatly depend on the material it’s made of. As mentioned, crystalline solar panels are regarded as the most durable option. Since plastic is used as protection for the cells, ETFE plastic is preferred because of its resilience and better light transmission.
- Efficiency – This is the rate at which the panel converts the sunlight into energy. 15% is a reasonable rate but high-quality panels can offer 20-25%, which means 20% of the absorbed sunlight is being converted.
Maintenance of Flexible Solar Panels
When it comes to maintaining your solar panel, there are several basic principles that you need to follow to ensure a longer lifespan. You shouldn’t step on it since the cells can get damaged. Also, handle and store them with caution because of the same reason. Storing them when not in use is necessary if you want to avoid degradation because of the UV light and the weather.