Author Topic: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China  (Read 907 times)

LittleSkipper

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Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« on: September 15, 2017, 01:18:19 PM »
Just yesterday, I pulled the trigger on the purchase of 10 - 130 watt flexible ETFE solar panels from China.  I plan to mount 5 on the hardtop and hopefully 1 on each quarter and 1 over the dinghy.  We will see how this goes.   The other 2 are spares.  The unit price is US$169 but after shipping and importation fees it will set me back about US$250 each.  These are 1050mm x 700mm is size. I am told they are a custom size/shape. One of their standard panels is 100 watts 1050x540mm.

Do any of you have any experience with thin flexible panels?  Yes, now that I am committed I am asking for your input.  Silly me.
Martin,Tracy & Jelliebean

LittleSkipper

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 02:27:27 PM »
The images are an example of their 100 Watt thin flexible ETFE panel.  I had some trouble attaching the file.
Martin,Tracy & Jelliebean

LittleSkipper

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 02:31:59 PM »
Here are the performance specs on the 130 Watt panels.
Martin,Tracy & Jelliebean

Matthew Balch

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 08:59:31 AM »
My only experience with the flexible panels comes from a friend who purchased 6 for mounting on the hard top and deck of his Amel Maramu.  They had been mounted for a year when we cruised through the Bahamas together earlier this year.  The panels worked, tho not as well as the hard ones mounted on the arch.  The only problem I noticed was that there was a peeling of the plastic film covering the panels.  When we collected water off the hard top, the water needed to be heavily filtered before putting into the boat's tanks.  Matthew

LittleSkipper

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2017, 10:49:04 AM »
Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your reply.  That is interesting about filtering the water.  I had not thought about that although we do filter water coming out of tanks. The ETFE panel might be considered second generation because the have a Teflon film on top.  Did you notice how the panels were attached?  Not sure I want to put a number of fasteners into the hardtop which is constructed out of plywood with fiberglass top and bottom.

I am considering 3M 3M VHB Double Sided tape combined with either EternaBond RoofSealant Tape  or Bunker Industries HT360 Hurricane Heavy Duty Utility Tape.  These panels are only about 3mm thick.  The RV folks use the EternaBond tape often for roof repair and mounting solar panels.  Those RVs can travel at near hurricane force winds going down the rode.
Martin,Tracy & Jelliebean

Matthew Balch

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2017, 05:25:57 PM »
Hi Martin,  On the Amel Maramu, these flexible solar panels were mechanically fastened with screws into the hardtop.  They did not lay completely flat because there was a connection with wires at one end.  We were shaking down the boat for a transatlantic crossing and it has sailed from Grand Bahama to Bermuda to Azores, Spain, Algeria and Cyprus since then.  We were being very careful to filter the dirt and plastic residue out of the water BEFORE letting it flow into the boat's tanks.  This was too much residue to allow into the tanks and be handled with the pump and domestic water system.  Matthew

LittleSkipper

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 01:31:20 PM »
Thanks Matthew,  Ok I think I get it now.  Your experience was with that panels were up for about a year and some of the plastic and or film was coming away.  Do I have that right?  That is a very important point if that is the case.  The RV folks talk about using the Eternabond tape but also putting a small bead of caulk at the front edge of the tape to protect it from lifting and peeling.  Perhaps that was happening on the Amel Maramu?  Maybe the film was scratched enough to allow the wind to get up underneath it taring it away?

All good concerns.  Thank you for bringing them to my attention.
Martin,Tracy & Jelliebean

Matthew Balch

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 10:12:52 PM »
My comment was about the transparent film deteriorating, but the panels were not delaminating at that point.  There was no danger of the panels coming off in the wind or seas.  The deterioration of the top film would only be a concern if you intend to collect rain water off of them, then you would need to filter the water before putting it into your tanks.

LittleSkipper

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Re: Purchasing 10 -130 watt flexible solar panels from China
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2017, 09:07:33 AM »
Ah, ok got it. 
Thank you Matthew.
Martin,Tracy & Jelliebean