Solar panels are a great way to harness energy for off-grid living if you want to enjoy a self-reliant life. Solar panels are great not only for people who use RVs, but also if you want to be able to produce some of your own energy at your home. While there are many different solar panels available, this information will help you choose the best flexible solar panels for your needs.
Check out our quick list of the best flexible solar panels by clicking on each product if you are in a hurry:
How to Choose the Best Flexible Solar Panels
There are a few things that you need to consider before you go shopping for new flexible solar panels. I find that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and buy the first solar panels you find that may meet your needs, but taking your time is smart. Make sure that you consider how much power you actually need and what size panel you can have without taking up too much space. It’s also important to consider your budget, the accessories that come with a solar panel, and how easily they can be installed.
The most important thing to consider is how much power you are going to need. Underestimating your power needs can result in you not getting the energy that you require and this can be very frustrating.
Advantages to Owning Flexible Solar Panels
When you opt for flexible solar panels, instead of a rigid option, you will enjoy a number of benefits. These solar panels don’t weigh very much, which means that they are ideal for installation on low-load-capacity roofs, as they won’t add a lot of weight. Due to their lower weight, they can also be installed in other locations than on roofs. They are ideal for use on RVs, tractor trailers, bus rooftops, on membranes to be transported to worksites, and even on floating reservoir covers.
Additionally, I find that installing flexible solar panels is much more cost effective than it is to install traditional solar panels. This may make them a better option for people who don’t have as high of a budget.
What to Look for When Comparing Panels
The price of your new solar panels is going to be determined by a few factors, including:
- The brand
- Quality of materials
- Warranty period or durability
- Capacity in watts
- The size of the panels
- Full system versus individual panels
- Additional certifications that the company has
I don’t think that it’s a good idea to choose your new flexible solar panels based solely on the price. It’s a good idea to consider the quality of materials used, as well as how efficient the panels are. This will play a huge role in how well they can convert sunlight into useable electrical energy.
How to Best Use Flexible Solar Panels
Because these solar panels are so easy to install, lightweight, and portable, they are ideal not only for use at home, but also when you are on the road. I find that there are more and more RV owners who are turning to flexible solar panels to help power their electricity in their RV when they are on the road. In the same vein, these panels can be used by truckers, as well as boaters and homesteaders.
If you are going to use flexible solar panels at your home, then you need to make sure that you consider how much energy you need. You must also consider where you can place your panels for the best results. Using them may not completely negate your dependency on traditional electricity, but it can help reduce how much you need and how much you pay each month. Flexible solar panels are also an integral part of an emergency preparation plan for grid down scenarios.
What to Consider When Purchasing
There are a few key things that you need to know before you shop for new flexible solar panels. In general, these panels have a shorter lifespan than traditional panels do, and some retailers won’t offer warranties on their products.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your panels are going to be installed in a location where you can easily clean them. Any scratches, dust, or dirt that accumulates on the panels can decrease their effectiveness.
Because these solar panels are significantly lighter than traditional models, they are ideal if you are going to be taking your solar panels on the go. Make sure that you think about if you want to use your solar panels in a permanent location or if you want to take them with you.
This solar panel kit not only offers everything that you need to set up your new solar panels and have them operating quickly and efficiently, but also provides you with a lightweight and durable solar panel option. This means that it may be ideal for areas where traditional solar panels are simply too heavy and bulky.
- Contains all of the equipment that you need to set up your new solar panels
- Can be easily curved to 30 degrees without damaging or compromising the solar panels
- Perfect for mounting on irregular surfaces
- Able to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow loads without being damaged
- 25-year power output warranty
- Weighs under 4.5 pounds
- Not ideal if you have higher solar demands
At 6.3 pounds, these solar panels are heavier than others on the market, but can be curved to a maximum of 30 degrees. They have predrilled holes on the panels to make mounting fast and easy.
- Ideal for use on the go, such as on a boat
- Perfect for use on greenhouses, campers, gardens, and sheds
- Very easy to set up
- Ideal for permanent and non-permanent applications
- High-quality controller and wiring decrease common setup and operating problems
- Come with a 25-year power output warranty
- May not produce as much energy as the company claims it will
- Size is larger than other flexible solar panels, but still doesn’t produce the same amount of energy
- Not resistant to hail and can take days to dry out and resume previous energy production
Enjoy the highest output and charging capacity from these SunPower solar panels. They are made with very lightweight polymer materials that allow them to flex up to 30 degrees without being damaged, and since they are built on a solid copper foundation, they are incredibly durable and will withstand movement without breaking.
- Very easy to keep clean, which improves electrical output
- Protected by a thick and hard cover of plastic to prevent damage
- Quality junction box prevents the solar panels from failing quickly
- Polymer layer is impervious to sun damage and won’t rot in the elements
- Charging is greatly decreased by any shade, which can make it difficult to get the power that you need
With a weight of 1.6 pounds, it’s easy to take these foldable and highly portable solar panels with you on the go, which means that you will always be able to set them up and create the power that you need. When unfolded, this solar panel has a size of 11 x 18 inches, which means that it doesn’t take up too much space when unfolded.
- Foldable design allows you to take the solar panels with you on the go
- Built-in pockets offer storage for cords and devices
- Optional power pack allows you to store energy for later use
- Can be chained together to produce even more power
- The ports can be ruined if the junction box gets wet
- Not all products are compatible with this solar panel, which can prevent charging
Thanks to the folding and portable design of this solar panel, you can easily take it with you anywhere you go, charge the power pack during the day when you have bright sun, and then power your products later. Charge both USB and even 12V gear using solar power, and enjoy fast charging on the go.
- Can operate in temperatures from 0-120 F
- Enjoy faster charge times by chaining the solar panels
- Special mono-crystalline solar creates maximum power per square inch
- Junction box is built in and allows you to power products through a USB port
- This solar panel doesn’t have the best reputation for lasting a long time without breaking
- Has difficulty powering products completely
- Better charging is possible with the power pack, but this is an additional cost
I think that the best flexible solar panels for you to use at your home, on your RV, or even on the go are the Goal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Panel.
One thing that I really love about these panels is that they can be set up in a permanent location or folded up and taken with you on the road, whether you are driving or hiking.
Because they fold, you don’t need to worry about them breaking during installation and use, unlike the first three options on this list.
Additionally, they are small enough to fit in cramped spaces, but still offer plenty of power when exposed to ample amounts of sun, which is key when using a flexible solar panel.
Fred is the Ready Zeal owner and editor. He has been passionately pursuing all things emergency preparation since working alongside his grandfather as a boy growing up in the Midwest. When not working on the family homestead he can be found brewing coffee and reading a good book or backpacking in the wilderness.