Flexible Solar Panels

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 10, 2015 at 22:25
ThreadID: 110680 Views:5513 Replies:10 FollowUps:0
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Anybody using these new flexible solar panels hard mounted straight onto the roof, and what do you think about the idea of sticking them on with sicoflex, have acquired some and am very sceptical about having no ventilation under them.
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Reply By: ctaplin - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 01:44

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 01:44
Mate, I got my fingers burnt with those semi flexible solar panels with the aluminium backing. They worked great all year in hot sunny conditions up near the Palmer River in Far North Queensland and produced good power.

Then 1 panel died and on the next trip to other one went also. They are open circuit and produce no voltage, even when in sunlight.

When working on a replacement, I decided to go back to solid panels as all the research I did, told me that those semi flexible panels have a short life.

Hope this helps you?

AnswerID: 544051

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 07:36

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 07:36
The latest flexible panels work well and are slightly more efficient than the solid panels BUT earlier versions gave problems with moisture getting between the aluminium substrate and the panel and causing corrosion which leads to them dying.
The current crop are available with an aluminium or acrylic substrate and the latter might be the better choice. They also don't seem to be affected by heat as earlier versions.
The big problem is that they get so hot they could affect whatever they are bonded to, there have been reports of composite panels separating plus do you really want that sort of heat conducted into your van, camper or motorhome.
The current thought is to stick them to 10mm corflute or similar and then stick that to the roof or make an aluminium frame to mount them on. Making a frame seems silly to me as you may as well fit standard panels.
Sika is the go but make sure surfaces are clean and prepped with the correct primers. The only problem is getting the panel off if required.
AnswerID: 544053

Reply By: skulldug - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 08:40

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 08:40
I have two direct stuck on the roof and they are brilliant. Phil from solar4rvs.com has tested panels with no air gap against the same panel with a gap and published the result on his website. The difference was insignificant.
AnswerID: 544056

Reply By: MARIC - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 09:47

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 09:47
I have 2 @ 200 watt flexi panels mounted on the back of dual cab toyota.
Originally they were to be mounted directly on roof with sicoflex, however muggins here mis judged the size. So I had to mount on a aluminium roof rack frame with sicoflex.
Each one weighs 3kg, more than happy with the result.
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AnswerID: 544060

Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 10:08

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 10:08
I have 4 x 50watt panels stuck to the roof of my van (in my avatar they had not yet been fitted). They've been in place for two years now.

Performance has been fine but I have had some problems with adhesion. Due to ignorance I did not use the Sikaflex primer first time around and lost one when it peeled off in the 100kph breeze when towing. Now properly fixed and with 3 small screws on each short edge as secondary fasteners for insurance :-).


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AnswerID: 544062

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 11:11

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 11:11
There are several brands available. No doubt some are better than others.
Came across Voltech recently. They make an aluminium based one and an acrylic based one. No idea how good.
No doubt they will get better and cheaper in time as demand increases.

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AnswerID: 544067

Reply By: Tony H15 - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 11:17

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 11:17
Sikaflex is great until you want to remove it, then not so good. I stuck a couple on the roof of a Jayco camper a couple of years ago, they worked well, heat was not a problem and the Sikaflex worked well. I wouldn't use it again though, you never know, you may change your mind.
AnswerID: 544069

Reply By: CSeaJay - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 16:25

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 16:25
I have these, and use them as portable panels when camping.
They are efficient, as efficient if not more than the rigid framed panels they replaced.
But boy they get hot. When moving or adjusting them for the moving sun, they are literally too hot to touch.
I applied some felt strips when I prepared for the trip, thinking that i can put it on the bonnet of the car. But after experiencing the extreme heat of the panel i decided against that idea.
AnswerID: 544082

Reply By: Tony H15 - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 18:28

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 18:28
I have a semi flexible sikaflexed to a sheet of marine ply which I use as a portable, I haven't noticed any heat buildup when handling. About the only thing I have noticed is Sikaflex doesn't stick to marine ply very well - heat?
AnswerID: 544089

Reply By: Member - johnat - Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 19:27

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 19:27
My only concern would be the problem that could be experienced getting the b*&%^y things off if/when they stop working!
I'd be much more comfortable with a solid unit and an airgap. But that's just me, I guess! ;)
AnswerID: 544092

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