Ultimate Flexible Solar Panels - successes and warranty replacements

+1 on caveat emptor.

Renogy’s response to the flexible panel failures of a couple of years ago has convinced me that they stand by their products and take care of their customers fairly.

PaulT said:
+1 on caveat emptor.

Renogy’s response to the flexible panel failures of a couple of years ago has convinced me that they stand by their products and take care of their customers fairly.

+1 on Renogy I had 1 of 2 flexible panels go bad after a couple years and they replaced it at full price! I did replace both with new generation ridged panels using the credit from the bad one. I have 100w flex panel I’m not using if anyone needs one
rando said:
To update - both my solar Cynergy panels failed in a hail storm. At least one string of cells in each panel died in the storm, leaving each panel at half current. I have since reverted to a 160W rigid panel and folding portable panel.

To be clear, this was a major hail storm with golf ball sized hail - several thousand dollars worth of damage done to the Tacoma the camper was mounted on, and the camper roof looks like the surface of the moon, but no leaks. About half or two thirds the houses in our neighborhood have roof top solar, and talking to our neighbors, only a few of them lost roof top panels in the same storm, so clearly the glass panels faired much better.
Which folding portable panel are you using?
I have the AIMS Power 120W foldable. It has worked as advertised, but I have to admit that I haven't used it all that much, so I can't speak to it's longevity. In general deployable panels are a pain, so we only use is when absolutely necessary. Here in the sunny rockies and SW, 160W on the roof is plenty 90% of the time.
My 160w panel supplies ample charge to keep my ARC refrigerator and other things going.

I made a 'battery box' (solar generator as they are marketed) with a 35ah battery to keep as a back up and to play with for radio.

I can charge it w/ a battery charger or solar and I could connect it to the camper battery if need be but I want a solar panel to use with it.

I didn't think a foldable panel would be a pain to deploy. Most 100w regular panels too big to easily carry in the camper.....

I consider any portable panel a pain to deploy in comparison to the always on roof panels, it is not that the flexible panels are more of a pain.
This panel might be all u need for that size battery. If u installed a solar controller in your box, then just plug & play. Good quality MC4 connectors. I needed a MC4/SAE splitter for my box. The panel is small & easy to pack. I bought one & thought the quality was definitely an improvement compared to my initial flex roof & portable. I had 2 - 50’ cables, but recently made 4 - 25’ cables to give me option of near & far. I ended up buying another to use for a DIY electric propelled canoe. I can run them in parallel if need be. I am like Rando so far in that my roof keeps up with my needs. But, I have not encountered long term heavy shade or dark/white out weather conditions. 2 of these 50W were easier to pack, for me, than my 100W. The 100W Dokio was cheaply made & started to fail, I tossed it. IMO, this Renogy is clearly better quality.

Something like below ... This also contains a SAE polarity adapter, which you may need. I did need an adapter, but realized that later, & had to order one separately. Confirm your polarity. You did not mention your Camper battery size? 50W should be great for 35ah. It will be ~2/3 slower, say for 100ah, than your 160W. But a portable can possibly be placed in a superior sun/solar position for greater efficiency.

Thanks. I have the 75aH Exide battery from FWC, 100 Watt solar panel from AM Solar and Morningstar PWM controller. this has been good enough for my small compressor fridge, except a few occassions where I wanted to park in shade due to heat, so a portable would be good in those situations.
I'm rereading this thread because my Lensun 100w aluminum substrate panels have failed. I was in the Owens Valley Memorial Day weekend with plenty of direct sunlight and my 300w of solar couldn't keep up with the 12v fridge. I have 2 100w Lensun semi flex panels and a 100w rigid Renogy panel. Today was a nice sunny day on the coast so I checked out the panels and found no output from either of the Lensun panels. I checked the voltage and current at the connectors then pulled the cover off the junction boxes and found no power.
Time to start researching again to find something as light as possible yet durable enough to last more than 3 years.
Hey ... I got these 2 last year as my original 2 were cheap from Solar Blvd. I knew I’d need to change. IMO, Sunpower are the best Flex I have researched. I don’t want the glass weight on my roof or a speaker stand accessory to enable them. Here is the online SoCal dealer I used. Best price I found. Shipping was reasonable, prompt. You can use CSEEKER as a code in the discount coupon box for 5% off. Two 110W panels are enough for me. I also have portable but have not needed yet. The Solar Blvd panels also lasted 3 years before 1 of 2 went out in March. The other one still functioned. I decided to replace both. I did not want different panels in parallel. In parallel if one goes out, they both do not function. Did you test both? The Sunpower should last longer as they have the ETFE surface. My previous had PET surface, but ???
I have a 100W SunPower semi-flexible panel on the boat which is on a mooring in Morro Bay, CA. It has been in a Marine Environment for about 18 months and still working fine.
I've been looking at SunPower and may go that way if I decide to stay with flexible panels. If I do stay with flexible panels I need to figure out some sort of attachment structure as I don't want to bond them directly to the roof. I may be able to bond them to the dead Lensun panels.

My other option is to replace with a rigid panel and start some weight training at the gym. If I do go with a rigid panel it will probably be a single 100w which will give me a total of 200w.

I'm still talking with Lensun but I don't really expect any help from them.
I vote rigid. Watts per $$ are higher, and apparently they live longer too. Also, a 100W rigid panel doesn't weigh significantly less than a 440W panel, so you can really get a lot of watts up on the roof.

I have a 330W panel on my roof, plus two max tracks and usually a 40# kevlar canoe. I can lift the roof by myself (age 63) but I also have 80# roof lifter shocks installed.
I agree with Vic that rigid panels will probably last longer than semi-flexible panels. However, the lighter weight of semi-flexible panels does make them appealing.

I own both semi-flexible and rigid panels. My recommendation is to mount either type in a similar way.

Use a pair of extruded Aluminum "Z" or "L" bars or square tube. Mount the panel to the two long support tubes (bars). Then mount the support bars directly to Yakima tracks using threaded anchor plates or using direct mounting to the camper roof. This mounting approach provides air space under the panel to help keep it from overheating. It is also easily removable.

I also agree with Vic that a single large residential panel (360 W or more) weighs about the same and costs only marginally more than two smaller panels - of say 100W t0 150 W. So why not go with more power for equivalent weight and cost?

See post #9 in the following thread:

I hadn't thought of using a single high wattage residential panel Vic...well, maybe next time when these flexible panels die in a few years!

Instead, I bought a couple Renogy 175W panels and used aluminum Z bars (similar to what cent323 mentioned) to create (re-create I guess) a more rigid panel, then mounted to the yak tracks. It's a solid install, and each panel with the aluminum frame weights in at 11lbs...so 22lbs total for the two panels, and 350W total.





Nicely done! Hopefully you will get many years of use and power from those panels.

My LG 360 W residential panel weighs 39.5 pounds and with supports rails comes in at 44.5 pounds.
Can’t argue w/Vic & am glad to hear CKent323 has seen SunPower Flex perform (tentatively) well in a Marine environment. Nice install above too, similar to mine, I used Alum tube. Individual factors & life’s variables allow for a myriad of determined usage choices. For me weight is important. SP 110W Flex panels weigh in at 4.4lbs. 2 panels is 8.8lbs w/220W capability. That’s ~30 to 40lbs of weight savings over glass. Maybe in some cases at less W, but that’s enough W for me. I don’t have 80# shocks, but, I have to ask Vic, that roof is a load. What ... do you eat for breakfast? :) Dead lift?! Do the (steroidal) 80# lifter shocks add that much assistance comparatively? If SunPower does not last for ~ 5 years, I will turn to glass.
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