Powerfilm Solar Charger

I recently had a look at this product, which seems to tick many of the boxes for a low output solar power system. It is being promoted in WA by Engel and they have a good rep, so I guess it's OK.
Has anyone had any experience with this product.
The blurb states it was invented in the States and that the US military use it widley as it is breakproof and highly efficent, but then you know salesmen.

I was thinking of mounting it (it glues down) on the roof of my van so that when it is in storage (without cover) it can trickle charge the battery bank.
Any comments would be appreciated

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Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 19:18

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 19:18
I have 2 of their 60W foldable panels, they are very compact and fold into the size of an A4 page about 25mm thick.
I have only used them a few times and have no long term experience with them. They can be connected in parallel directly without any fancy electronics.
I had them delivered to my door from the US for about $710 each from buysolargadgets.com

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Follow Up By: Member - LargeN - Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 12:26

Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 12:26
Thanks Rob,
I like the idea of $710 against $1600 for tyhe 60W from Engel!!

FollowupID: 769714

Reply By: Cravenhaven - Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 09:52

Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 09:52
I dont know where Engel get the efficiency argument from.
On the power to size ratio the thinfilm technology solar arrays are somewhat less efficient than the common silicon arrays although they hold great promise that many manufacturers are trying to achieve.
On the power to price ratio thinfilm is a lot less efficient than silicon cells. When I spoke with Engel at the Sydney camping show their 60w panel cost around $1000.
I did also see a good 'packaging' system for traditional silicon cells used by the scouts (I think). They used a number of 10 or 20w arrays sewn into a sheet of canvas. The glass arrays were about 30cm square and so the whole thing could be folded down into a brick of approx 30cm square by 10cm thick.

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Follow Up By: Member - LargeN - Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 12:30

Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 12:30
Thanks Cravenhaven,
I only want a low amperage input, and 60W will give me 5 amps .
However when you look at the cost $1600 for the 60w system form Engel Australia, compared with the other comment above about getting them from the US for $710. that makes a diffference.
FollowupID: 769715

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 19:40

Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 19:40
have a look at what else is available for 700 odd dollars.
there are many options available locally.
And you will always get a warranty.

$700 is a lot of $$$$$ and no warranty.

FollowupID: 769743

Follow Up By: P2D2 - Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 21:38

Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 21:38
LargeN posted "and 60W will give me 5 amps" incorrect. 60W of solar panel will give you maximum 3.5A, and generally around 2.75A to 3.0A
What they fail to tell you with the flexible panels how poorly they perform in cooler to cold temperatures. Once you get below 25C performance starts to drop off and below 15C serious performance reduction.

Amorphous panels are seriously inefficient compared to crystalline panels and are more than double the surface area.
FollowupID: 769750

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