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Flexible solar panels


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I've had one warranty issue in the last 2 years, from about 15 panels. It was a cable connection to the panel problem. The joint leaked and the wire corroded through.

However, the panels have quite badly discoloured, and I am wondering if they will have a long life. The discolouration does not seem to have effected their output, which is interesting. These are Chinese panels.

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I'm just looking at getting some. Have been talking to AA Solar, and the ones they have been selling have had problems with the connection onto the panel element failing in a few cases. Consequently, they are selling their stock at a discount, but with no warranty.

 

Since I'd rather not have a panel even partially fail on me at sea, where I might be reliant on it, I'm not buying any from them. Nothing against AA Solar, rest of their stuff is no doubt perfectly good.

 

All my panels at home are made in China, and we have no issues with them. It's not about the country of origin, it's about the quality controls in the factory of origin, and there are good and bad the world over. The problem is sorting out which is which. I've found with panels etc, you get what you pay for.

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I'd stare clear of AA's flexibles, that's the advice from everyone I've spoken to about them.

 

Mine are Go somethings (I think and will suss) from Beacon. Not for the budget minded who only buy on price but good for those who want reliable and realise buying based on 'lifetime cost' is usually the most cost efficient.

 

Buy bloody good control gear, don't be a squeaky arse with that either as the panels are useless if that packs up.

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http://goflexsolar.co.nz/

 

I have two of their long skinny GFS 50's which I am intending to mount on the foredeck. They coated the back of mine with VHB, so I just have to peel off the film and stick 'em down when I am ready to install.

They have a tread like surface and you are supposed to be able to walk on them. Not cheap.

We will see how they go after I have installed and wired them up. I've got a genasun controller for each.

My only worry is that because they will be bonded to the deck with VHB, they could well be a pain in the jacksie to take off and replace if they do crap out.

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I wonder a bit about flexible solar panels.

They do seem to have more than their fair share of problems, my No.2 son had an 80watt flexible panel on his boat that failed after two seasons.

Their attraction would be that they can be mounted directly and conform to the shape of a deck or cabin top but this also brings with it the insurmountable problem that for much of the time they will be at least partially shaded. Even shading a tiny portion of the panel by a stay or whatever reduces the charging by 80 -90%.

I know it may be a bit troublesome to do and some don't like the looks of it but conventional panels mounted on a pole or arch overcomes a host of issues, not the least of which being that the panels will always be in 'clear air' which in turn means you may well get away with a smaller charging output. I have my panels mounted on a fully adjustable pole at the stern. The pole doubles up as an attachment for my sunshade and with a block half way up, a handy derrick for lifting the outboard up from the dinghy.

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Interesting comparison

 

AASolar - 100W flexible panel - $260 - no warranty and actually would prefer to sell you glass panels which I consider pretty honest.

Go flex solar - 102W flexible panel - $799 - not clear on warranty didn't look too hard) but openly advertise that you can wallk on them so presumably have a warranty to back that up.

RV World - 100W flexible panel - $395 - 2 year warranty and a good explanation of the panel construction

 

Its a complicated world out there!

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Interesting comparison

 

AASolar - 100W flexible panel - $260 - no warranty and actually would prefer to sell you glass panels which I consider pretty honest.

Go flex solar - 102W flexible panel - $799 - not clear on warranty didn't look too hard) but openly advertise that you can wallk on them so presumably have a warranty to back that up.

RV World - 100W flexible panel - $395 - 2 year warranty and a good explanation of the panel construction

 

Its a complicated world out there!

 

and NZD$176.00 on eBay

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I probably would but only because I have a diesel inboard with twin alternators and twin battery banks hence I've got plenty of good charging backup if it failed. If it was the sole source of charging it'd be a different matter.

 

The AA Solar and RV World panels probably come from the same factory

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Interesting comparison

 

AASolar - 100W flexible panel - $260 - no warranty and actually would prefer to sell you glass panels which I consider pretty honest.

Go flex solar - 102W flexible panel - $799 - not clear on warranty didn't look too hard) but openly advertise that you can wallk on them so presumably have a warranty to back that up.

RV World - 100W flexible panel - $395 - 2 year warranty and a good explanation of the panel construction

 

Its a complicated world out there!

That might seem honest now but doesn't do guys like me much good , we bought them in good faith a year ago.( probably more like 14 months )

 

Now it seems they're a ticking time bomb, and will fail. Right now they still work, very discoloured though.

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Indeed - but would you have paid the extra $140 (or $440) for a warranty - then, now (14/24 months)? Would your view change in 10 months if it was still going?

Presumably they gave you a warranty at the time in which case you are covered for that period provided you look after them?

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