Flexible Solar Panels

If you are curious about flexible solar panels, our complete guide has you covered. Everything you need to know and nothing you don’t.

Flexible solar panels being installed.

Key Takeaways

  • Flexible solar panels are a thin, lightweight alternative to traditional solar panels, making them suitable for installation on unconventional surfaces such as curved rooftops or uneven terrain.
  • Flexible solar panels tend to have lower efficiency and power output compared to traditional solar panels, but they are more durable and resistant to damage.
  • Flexible solar panels have a range of potential applications, including residential rooftops, recreational vehicles, boats, military and emergency situations, and agricultural and outdoor installations.
  • When purchasing flexible solar panels, consider factors such as efficiency and power output, size and dimensions, certifications and warranties, and brand reputation and customer reviews. Proper maintenance is also crucial for ensuring the longevity and performance of flexible solar panels.

Depending on your solar needs, flexible solar panels might be your best bet. But what are flexible solar panels exactly? The hint is in the name, these solar panels are made of a flexible material, allowing them to be easily installed on curved or irregular surfaces. In this article, we’ll have a look the different types of flexible solar panels, their advantages and disadvantages, and potential applications. We’ll try to crack a few jokes along the way so you don’t fall asleep.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s start by defining exactly what we mean by “flexible solar panels.” AKA Thin-Film solar panels, these panels are made up of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity, just like standard solar panels you are more familiar with.

Instead of being mounted on a rigid, glass-covered panel, they are made with a thin, flexible material such as a polymer or metal substrate. This makes them much more versatile and easier to install compared traditional solar panels. Think of flexible solar panels like your friend that looks good in anything they wear.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why would I want a flexible solar panel when I can just get a regular one?” Well, there are several benefits to using flexible solar panels. One of the key advantages is they can be installed on a variety of surfaces, including rooftops, walls, and even RVs.

This means you don’t have to worry about finding a flat, unobstructed space to mount your panels. Flexible solar panels are much lighter and easier to transport than traditional panels. This makes them a great option for those with limited storage or installation space.

But enough with the generalities, let’s get down to the specifics! We’ll cover everything you need to know about flexible solar panels, from the different types available to the factors you should consider when purchasing one.

We’ll also delve into the various applications of flexible solar panels, as well as their maintenance and lifespan. Whether you’re a seasoned solar panel pro or new to the game, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s get started on this flexible solar panel learning!

What Is The Difference Between Flexible Solar Panels And Standard Solar Panels

Flexible solar panels and standard solar panels are two types of photovoltaic panels that are used to convert sunlight into electricity. While both types of solar panels serve the same purpose, there are some key differences between them.

One of the most glaring differences between flexible and standard solar panels is their physical appearance. Flexible solar panels are made from thin layers of photovoltaic material that are flexible and lightweight, while standard solar panels are made from thicker layers of photovoltaic material that are rigid and heavier.

This makes flexible solar panels more suitable for installation on unconventional surfaces, such as curved rooftops or uneven terrain, for those living in cave houses. Standard solar panels on the other hand are more suited for flat surfaces.

In terms of performance and efficiency, standard solar panels are more efficient and have a higher power output than flexible solar panels. This is because standard solar panels are made from higher-quality photovoltaic materials that are able to convert more sunlight into electricity.

In the tale of the tape, flexible solar panels have the advantage of being more durable and resistant to damage, as they are able to withstand harsh weather conditions and physical impacts better than standard solar panels.

Flexible solar panels are usually less efficient and have a lower power output compared to standard solar panels, which means they are currently not suitable for larger scale energy needs. Also, some types of flexible solar panels contain toxic materials, such as cadmium or lead, Yuck!

If you want to check out side to side comparisons of some of the top flexible solar panel brands, watch the video below:

Advantages of Using Flexible Solar Panels

Ease of Installation with Unconventional Surfaces

As previously mentioned, flexible solar panels can be easily bent and shaped to fit on a wide range of surfaces, including curved rooftops, uneven terrain, and other unconventional surfaces. This gives you more options on where you can install compared to standard solar panels, which are typically only suitable for flat surfaces.

Durability and Resistance to Damage

Flexible solar panels are made from thin layers of photovoltaic material that are more resistant to damage compared to standard solar panels. They are able to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as high winds and heavy rain, and are less prone to breakage or cracking. They are kind of like Carhartt’s, they might not be the flashiest, but rest assured they aren’t going to break down from the elements.

Lightweight and Portable

Flexible solar panels are much lighter than standard solar panels, making them easier to transport and install. Some traditional solar panels take two burly men to carry them safely. On the other hand, the puniest of humans should be able to pack flexible solar panels around. This makes them ideal for use in recreational vehicles, boats, and emergency situations where mobility is of the essence.

Cost Effectiveness

Flexible solar panels may be more cost effective than standard solar panels in certain situations, such as when the cost of installation and labor is high or when the available space for solar panels is limited.

Flexible solar panels would be a more cost-effective option for small or irregularly shaped roofs, where the cost of customizing standard solar panels to fit the roof shape may be prohibitively expensive. Flexible solar panels can also be overlaid on top of existing roofing materials, reducing the need for costly roofing repairs or replacements.

Additional Advantages

  • Flexible solar panels have a low profile and can be easily integrated into the design of buildings, making them more aesthetically pleasing and less noticeable than standard solar panels.
  • Flexible solar panels are more resistant to shading and soiling, which can negatively impact the performance of standard solar panels. If you are in an area with lots of trees or dust, flexible solar panels deserve consideration.
  • Some flexible solar panels are equipped with built-in charge controllers and USB ports. This allows them to be used as a portable power source for charging electronic devices. Never again will you have to pay attention to your family rather than your phone while on camping trips.

Disadvantages of Using Flexible Solar Panels

Lower Efficiency Compared to Traditional Solar Panels

Flexible solar panels may not be the most efficient beasts on the block. Traditional solar panels typically have an efficiency rate of around 15-22%, flexible solar panels have an efficiency rate of around 7-15%. This means that you will need to install more flexible solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity as traditional solar panels.

You can check out our complete article on how much power a solar panel produces, if you are interested in learning more.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing Flexible Solar Panels

If you have decided that flexible solar panels are right for you, the next step is to find the right ones for you. Here are some things to think about as you shop around:

Power Needs

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing flexible solar panels is your power needs. As mentioned earlier, flexible solar panels tend to have a lower efficiency and power output compared to traditional solar panels, with an average efficiency of around 7-15% compared to 15-22% for traditional solar panels.

This means that flexible solar panels may not be the best choice for larger scale energy needs, like powering a home, business or bitcoin mining operation. That being said, they can still be a great option for smaller scale energy needs, such as charging a portable battery or powering a recreational vehicle.

Size and Dimensions

Flexible solar panels are available in a range of different sizes. Once you know your power needs and available area you have to deploy them, it will make your decision much easier.

Be sure to measure the available space where you plan to install your flexible solar panels and choose a size that will fit comfortably. Flexible solar panels are lightweight, but might be a bit heavy for a tent, for example.

Certifications and Warranties

As with any substantial purchase, it’s always a good idea to check the certifications and warranties of any solar panel you’re considering purchasing, including flexible solar panels.

Look for panels that have been certified by reputable organizations, such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). These certifications ensure that the panels meet safety and performance standards and can help to protect you and your loved ones against faulty or poorly made products.

Warranties are also an important factor to consider when purchasing flexible solar panels. Most panels come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship, some also offer longer warranties that cover the performance of the panels.

Be sure to pull out those bifocals and read the fine print and understand what is covered under the warranty before making your purchase. If a company won’t stand by their product, that should be a red flag.

Brand Reputation and Customer Reviews

Look for brands that have been in business for a while and have a good reputation in the industry. Checking customer reviews and ratings to get an idea of what other users think of the panels you’re considering is recommended. Take individual reviews with a grain of salt. If you common complaints in a number of reviews, there is probably something to it.

Every situation is different and what works for one person may not work for you, so be sure to consider your own needs and circumstances when making your decision.

Maintenance and Lifespan of Flexible Solar Panels

Just like you must maintain traditional solar panels, proper maintenance is crucial for ensuring the longevity and performance of your flexible solar panels. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Cleaning and Care Instructions

If you want your solar panels running optimally, you have to keep those bad boys clean. Dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate on the panels over time and block sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells, which reduces their power output.

To clean your flexible solar panels, simply use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild soap and water solution. Don’t use abrasive materials or harsh chemicals, as these will damage the panels.

It’s also a good idea to avoid washing the panels during times of extreme heat or cold, as extreme temperatures can affect the performance of the panels. Plus, who wants to be outside in extreme temperatures scrubbing their solar panels. During times like that, I prefer to sit inside and enjoy the free heating my panels are providing.

Expected Lifespan and Degradation Rate

Like all solar panels, flexible solar panels will degrade over time, which means that their power output will gradually decrease as they age.

The rate at which flexible solar panels degrade can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the materials used, the maintenance you put into them, and the local climate.

In general, flexible solar panels have an expected lifespan of around 10-15 years, with a degradation rate of around 0.5-1% per year. This means that after 10-15 years, a flexible solar panel may have a power output that is around 5-15% lower than when it was new.

Repair and Replacement Options

If your flexible solar panels are not working as expected, there are a few options to consider for repair or replacement. If the panels are still under warranty, you’re in luck. You will be able to get them repaired or replaced by the manufacturer at no cost. Bingo!

If the panels are no longer under warranty, you may be able to get them repaired by a third-party solar panel repair company. Just know, repairing flexible solar panels can be challenging due to their thin, lightweight design, and it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the panels instead. Depending on age and damage inflicted, you might be better off buying new ones.


Flexible solar panels are a versatile and convenient option for converting sunlight into electricity. Their thin, lightweight design, means flexible solar panels can be easily installed on unconventional surfaces, such as curved rooftops or uneven terrain, and are well-suited for use in recreational vehicles, boats, and emergency situations.

They aren’t for everyone, but flexible solar panels are playing their role in the mission to reduce our carbon emissions and save the planet.

That concludes our guide. We hope you learned a few things. If you found this article useful, consider sharing it with others. Thanks for reading!

Are flexible solar panels any good?

Flexible solar panels are good, depending on your needs. Because of their lower efficiency and output, they are best suited for uses that require less power, such as RV’s and Boats. Their flexible nature makes them good for use on unconventional surfaces.

Can you cut flexible solar panels?

You can, but it is generally not recommended to cut flexible solar panels. While some flexible solar panels may be cut to fit a specific size or shape, this can potentially damage the panels and affect their performance. It’s important to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and installation guidelines when using flexible solar panels to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

How to clean flexible solar panels?

Simply use a soft cloth and some mild soap and water to wipe away any dirt or debris. Be sure to avoid abrasive materials, as they can damage the panel.

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