Flexable Panels

Apr 18, 2009
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Ok guys I'm sure this has been asked before, but the boating guys are using flexy panels stuck flat to the deck, if its good enough for them why are we still using rigid with a gap??
 

tonka

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Price I guess....
£80 for 80watts off ebay is where I am at... (y)

ACTUALLY.... Your right... Just looked on ebay and prices seem to have dropped a lot.. 100w semi flexy £125.... Interesting...

Now can someone explain how the panel cools ? Because I was always led to understand you needed air flow under current solid panels to keep them cool.
 

pappajohn

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Price I guess....
£80 for 80watts off ebay is where I am at... (y)

ACTUALLY.... Your right... Just looked on ebay and prices seem to have dropped a lot.. 100w semi flexy £125.... Interesting...

Now can someone explain how the panel cools ? Because I was always led to understand you needed air flow under current solid panels to keep them cool.
My understanding also.
Panels do get very hot and i beleive the hotter they get, the less efficient they become.

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hilldweller

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My understanding also.
Panels do get very hot and i beleive the hotter they get, the less efficient they become.

On top of that it's like painting your roof black, will that heat effect the roof or your comfort ?

On the other hand, with the gap, your roof is sheltered from the sun.
 
OP
wizzer59
Apr 18, 2009
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So we don't know then, heat on the roof, not sure that's a real problem I'm sure there must be a membrane we can use, losing efficiency, again don't seem to worry the boats?
 
Jun 8, 2012
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Ok guys I'm sure this has been asked before, but the boating guys are using flexy panels stuck flat to the deck, if its good enough for them why are we still using rigid with a gap??

Who said we are? I've got 2 flexible panels on my roof. They work very well, are much easier to fit, invisible unless seen from above and more aerodynamic.

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OP
wizzer59
Apr 18, 2009
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Fantastic just what I wanted someone who has them, as you say much more aerodynamic which is the main advantage from my point of view, what do you think of the other comments?
 
Jun 8, 2012
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Fantastic just what I wanted someone who has them, as you say much more aerodynamic which is the main advantage from my point of view, what do you think of the other comments?

I'm sure they drop a few % in the heat if people say they do. However, who cares? If it is hot, it is probably also sunny and producing far more power than you need. You actually want it at its most efficient in cold, cloudy weather in the shoulder season with short days, when you need lighting and entertainment for longer and lots of power for the heating fans.
 
Jun 8, 2012
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Price I guess....
£80 for 80watts off ebay is where I am at... (y)

ACTUALLY.... Your right... Just looked on ebay and prices seem to have dropped a lot.. 100w semi flexy £125.... Interesting...

Actually, the price difference is even less, as a rigid panel needs lots of expensive mounting hardware, whilst a flexi can just be screwed or glued down.

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Jun 8, 2012
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Did you fit yours?

Yes. I used screws and a little sikaflex for sealing. My roof is aluminium. It took all of about two and a half minutes to physically attach them to the roof. Wiring up took about an hour, but required a new cable from the battery compartment all the way to the rear. It also took me half an hour to remove an old empty awning box that was in the way and mounted with rusted screws. I've got room for another 3x100W flexibles above the luton, but can't really justify it as I've never run out of juice since they were fitted and have now even fitted a B2B charger. For the last year, I had solar charging only (no split charge or mains charger) and never saw it below 12.2V.
 

eddievanbitz

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All of your answers are in Jins link. Boats don't go as fast as Motorhomes, there less of a trip hazard on a boat and get font last as long.

Eddie
 
Sep 28, 2012
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eddievanbitz

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Another thing to bear in mind apart from the shortened life, is removal. We regularly remove panels: Either for relocation due to additions to the roof, say in the case of Satellite TV or Air Con being added. Also we often remove panels as customers are selling their motorhomes and want to save the capital cost and have them transferred, and of course a certain amount of panels are replaced as they have been damaged, or have developed a fault.

If a flexible panel is stuck to the roof, so it was ridgid, it would be impossible to remove and if it was stuck around the edges, the flex would cause undue stress at motorway speeds.

I could understand if they were much cheaper or much better, but as they're not I fail to see the benefit

Eddie
 
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One big benefit is weight as we are always looking to save on our payload.

If there is a problem with it and it goes wrong Just stick one on top.

Another benefit Is cost it is so easy to do it your self saving hundreds on fitting.

But it all depends on your own finances If fitted by a professional it all guaranteed.
 

eddievanbitz

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One big benefit is weight as we are always looking to save on our payload.

If there is a problem with it and it goes wrong Just stick one on top.

Another benefit Is cost it is so easy to do it your self saving hundreds on fitting.

But it all depends on your own finances If fitted by a professional it all guaranteed.

Sticking either on the roof isn't any different.

I don't know any companies that are charging "hundreds on fitting"

As you say though each to their one

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funflair

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I guess you can walk on or sit on the flexi stuck down ones, small boats need to make the available space multitask.

I would stick to rigid myself for MH as they are not as permanent as the flexi jobs and can be removed and upgraded as Eddie points out.

Martin
 

Puddleduck

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I'm quite temped by free standing panels rather than the ones stick to the roof. I know someone here has such a set-up.
 

funflair

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One big benefit is weight as we are always looking to save on our payload.

If there is a problem with it and it goes wrong Just stick one on top.

Another benefit Is cost it is so easy to do it your self saving hundreds on fitting.

But it all depends on your own finances If fitted by a professional it all guaranteed.

Lots of people fit their own rigid ones, if you can fit flexi you can fit rigid ones as most of the work is the cables roof entry and controller to battery connections with correct fuses as well.

Martin

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scotjimland

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Flexi solar panels were developed to solve a problem that boat owners had... little or no deck space to mount rigid panels .. and what space there is, is walked on..

If you are payload challenged, yes they are lighter .. other than that.. struggling to see any benefits.

Free standing have the advantage of being able to align to the sun.. but you still need to store it when travelling, so there is a limit to the physical size that is practical.

.. downside.. very attractive to the tea leaf
 

eddievanbitz

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I'm quite temped by free standing panels rather than the ones stick to the roof. I know someone here has such a set-up.
Hi Puddledock,

Think about the convenience and security aspect of free standing panels. On my previous motorhome I had picked ALDEN Phoenix which was a self tracking solar panel it is an average five times more efficient than conventional flat panel. However, that required me to actually remember to flick the switch to turn the thing on. So I had a £2,500 system that was no better than a conventional 100w panel for the majority of the time. When I changed my camper I decided that 3 x 130w flat panels on the roof would out perform the ALDEN system and given me change.

By the same token sun is out at full blast by 5 o'clock in the morning if you don't rise to 9:00 AM and put your panels out you will have wasted quite a considerable amount of charging time.

Then you also run the risk of damaging them and or your Motorhome in and out everyday.

Nothing is easy :)
 

Puddleduck

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Thanks Eddie. It was just an idea.... we were quoted £850 for panels and install which I thought a bit steep....... We don't need the panel to be honest as we use EHU and there is only room for one battery in the garage unless we make mods.

We are usually up just after 5 at home as we have livestock - it takes a few days to relax and get up later when we are away. Up with the sun is the rule in our house.

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Jun 8, 2012
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I guess you can walk on or sit on the flexi stuck down ones, small boats need to make the available space multitask.

I would stick to rigid myself for MH as they are not as permanent as the flexi jobs and can be removed and upgraded as Eddie points out.

Martin

I'm not sure how the flexibles are less "flexible" than rigid when it comes to fixing? Both will need to be either screwed or glued down. With the flexi, you don't have to glue the whole panel. Just the corners where the brackets would have been on the rigid.
 
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I could understand if they were much cheaper or much better, but as they're not I fail to see the benefit

Rigid ones are ugly and un-aerodynamic. Flexibles can't be seen, except from bridges, and offer much lower wind resistance.
 

eddievanbitz

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The more they flex the quicker they potential can be damaged. Originally designed to be able to be "tied" around a boom or over a curved surface, often only when at anchor.

I could be wrong, (often am lol) but I don't think that glued down on the roof of a motor vehicle was the aim of the manufacturer.

Eddie

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Sep 28, 2012
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I wonder how much extra a screwed down panel with a ali frame plus the weight would cost in fuel over 100 miles.

I know with a roof rack on my car that my fuel consumption shoots up.
 

funflair

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Rigid ones are ugly and un-aerodynamic. Flexibles can't be seen, except from bridges, and offer much lower wind resistance.

Sky lights, sat dish aerodynamics of a brick so I am not too worried about fixing the rigid panels on with a little fairing on the front edge.

I believe the flexible are not as efficient as rigid, but somebody might correct me on this.

But everybody to their own choice.

Martin
 

eddievanbitz

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I would think that it would make any noticeable difference, given all the stuff hanging on, off and under a Motorhome.

We are 11 ton and just about to drive to the South of France with 27 foot trailer and boat on the back so it definitely wouldn't with us :)

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