7 Best Flexible Solar Panels for RVs, Boats, and Bending Surfaces (Summer 2022)

From monocrystalline to polycrystalline options, we selected the highest-quality flexible solar panels.
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Last updatedLast updated: May 22, 2022
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When you think of going eco-friendly, you think about solar energy. It offers you sustainability by reducing your carbon footprint and puts of pocket fires due to expensive electricity bills. Solar panels are common rooftop equipment. But what if your roof can’t hold the weight or you are out camping or in your RV? Should these factors restrict you from availing solar power?

This is where flexible solar panel comes to your rescue. Now, how do you find the best flexible solar panel? Certain key points would help you determine the best out of the set. See how flexible and lightweight these panels are. Thinner the panels the more flexibility it offers and they weigh lighter. See how durable the product is. You want something that lasts a while and is low on maintenance. If you want it for your RV, boats, camping site, or even your tiny home, you need to make sure you pick the one that serves your purpose.

Top 7 Flexible Solar Panels Review 2022

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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 7646 people in the past 30 days
9.7
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
9.4
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
9.3
Features & Benefits
Product Review
9.2
9.7
Features
  • Type: monocrystalline
  • Watts: 160W
  • Cell efficiency: 21%
  • Flexibility: 248°
  • Size: 59.2 x 26.5 x 0.08 in
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • Warranty: up to 25-year power output warranty; 5-year material and workmanship warranty

Other features: 36 monocrystalline cells; thin lamination; withstands wind of up to 2400Pa and snow loads of up to 5400Pa

If extra flexibility is what you’re looking for, this might be an optimal choice. This flexible solar panel offers great flexibility with an arc range of 248 degrees. It’s ultra-light feature achieved due to the solar technology innovations and lamination techniques add to its flexibility as well. Polymer materials used in these panels make it easy to install and transport. The use of polymer in this flexible solar panel has reduced its weight compared to the conventional ones by about 70%. The thickness of this panel is 0.1 inches which are 95% thinner than the conventional solar panels.

The durability is quite impressive. They are tested to hold up against storms with wind speed reaching 139.9 miles per hour. They also could withstand being covered by mounds of snow whose pressure could be as high as 5400Pa.

This flexible solar panel is feasible for low-lit areas. The bypass diodes help in trapping solar power in the shade and dim conditions. This feature enhances the performance to a good extent. With full sun these would work wonders.

These monocrystalline panels are spot on if you want to be off the grid. A suitable solution to incorporate on your boats, campers, travel trailers, etc. Installations can be done on uneven surfaces and the cost to install is slim.

The wattage capacity is 160W, which is good enough for small scale energy requirements. With this on your roof, you could be producing sufficient energy to sustain. If you are a family that believes in a minimalist lifestyle and have opted for a tiny home, these flexible solar panels fit perfectly and give your home a sleek look as well.

What stands out?

  • Lightweight
  • 248-degree flexibility
  • Good performance in shade and low-light.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Risk of delamination
  • Alignment issues
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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 6356 people in the past 30 days
9.6
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
9.5
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
9.3
Features & Benefits
Product Review
9.4
9.6
Features
  • Type: monocrystalline
  • Watts: 80W
  • Cell efficiency: not specified
  • Flexibility: 30°
  • Size: 33.3 x 27.2 x 0.11 in
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Warranty: 25-year limited on power output; 5-year on material and workmanship

Other features: 4 pre-drilled mounting holes; (2) 24-inch panel leads; ETFE coating

Built with the ETFE solar charger, this flexible solar panel is ideal for driving your RVs to scorching hot places. Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene is a plastic coating contains fluorite compounds. This coating helps to tolerate high temperatures without hampering energy efficiency.

This flexible solar panel has adopted honeycomb technology. It has transparent dots on its surface that traps solar energy in all possible angles. The refraction of solar light caused due to these dots increases the rate of conversion. Similar to the conventional solar panels, this uses the EVA film is used as a sealant. It provides the ruggedness of rubber without taking away from the flexibility. This indeed increases the longevity of the panel, this making it more reliable. On completion of the lifespan of 25 years, you could recycle all of it for some other purpose. This makes it all the more sustainable.

It is low in weight and easy to maintain. The nonstick surface offers self-cleaning. In addition to these, the product is described to be tear-resistant. It is waterproof and fireproof as well.

When it comes to wattage output it gives a good output depending on the number of panels installed. On the parallel connection of two of these panels, you could expect an output of 80 – 90 watts in full sun. This flexible solar unit has a power-packed performance.

What makes it special?

  • Durable materials and its functionality
  • Surpasses the minimum power output mentioned

What cons did we find?

  • Customer support may be challenging.
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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 3470 people in the past 30 days
9.1
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
9.0
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.7
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.8
9.1
Features
  • Type: monocrystalline
  • Watts: 100W
  • Cell efficiency: 21%
  • Flexibility: 248°
  • Size: 48 x 21.5 x 0.08 in
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
  • Warranty: up to 25-year power output warranty; 5-year material and workmanship warranty

Other features: 36 monocrystalline cells; thin lamination; withstands wind of up to 2400Pa and snow loads of up to 5400Pa

Extra flexibility seems to be the USP of Renogy. Offering a 248-degree range of flex, it seems to be a perfect fit for surfaces with an excessive curve. This would work well on soft surfaces, making it one of the best marine flexible solar panels.

It is quite similar to the other Renogy flexible solar panels. This version gives you the capacity to obtain around 100 watts from one panel under full sun. Depending on your requirement, you could install more than one in parallel connection to increase ampere capacity or in series connection to increase the voltage capacity.

If you are in hurricane-prone areas or places prone to snowstorms, this product proves to works positively to sustain these conditions and pressures.

Ease in the installation is a boon. You could stock these onto your roofs using silicon adhesives, use the copper mounting holes to fasten it to the required surface or use Velcro. Some also prefer to make a lightweight frame using PVC. You could adjust these frames according to the movement of the sun.

This medium-capacity solar panel with 100W output is sufficient to power electric pumps, fan, lights, and a gas heater. This is perfectly achieved without witnessing any drop in the voltage.

Why are we impressed?

  • Lightweight, extra flexibility
  • Resistance to harsh weathers

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • Chances of ending up with a poor quality panel
RELATED: 8 Best Solar Panels for Boats – Longer Adventures in the Sea (Summer 2022)
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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 7449 people in the past 30 days
9.0
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.7
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.9
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.5
9.0
Features
  • Type: polycrystalline
  • Watts: 150W
  • Cell efficiency: up to 22.5%
  • Flexibility: 30°
  • Size: 53.3 x 27.2 x 0.08 in
  • Weight: 7.94 lbs
  • Warranty: up to 25-year power output warranty; 5-year material and workmanship warranty

Other features: 32 polycrystalline cells; 39.3-inch cables

Your family’s energy needs are the basis of this solar panel’s design. It has incorporated the shingle technology assisting the conduction of solar power among the solar cell units through a conductive adhesive.

The solar power output in low lit areas is quite efficient as the shingle technology prevents wastage of solar power. Unlike the conventional solar panels and also a number of its counterparts, this design is solderless. The technology used to connect the battery wafers in this product helps in trapping the solar energy at an excess of a 15%per unit area. This new mechanism has proved to increase the performance as well as the durability of the flexible solar panel designed for RVs, boats, and roofs with uneven surfaces.

Panels are lightweight making the installation and transportation process a breeze. Its net weight is less than 4lbs and the flexibility ranges to about 30 degrees. These panels could be fixed with adhesive tape without requiring any drilling of holes. When it comes to maintenance, you don’t have to break your head since this product comes with a self-cleaning feature. The panels tend to get clean with rains. It has a nonstick surface enabling easy cleaning. The junction box is waterproof so you don’t have to worry about shorting. These panels could withstand hailstorms and heavy rainfall.

This flexible panel is compatible to charge a 12V battery which could be either a lead-acid or a lithium battery. It is also beneficial to connect devices like water pumps as well.

What stands out?

  • Solderless technology
  • Waterproof junction box
  • Laminate design

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Chance of having a misty panel
  • Flexibility is lesser than its counterparts
RELATED: 15 Best Solar Panels for Your RV – Don’t Lose Power on a Road! (Summer 2022)
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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 8211 people in the past 30 days
8.5
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.4
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.1
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.4
8.5
Features
  • Type: monocrystalline
  • Watts: 100W
  • Cell efficiency: not specified
  • Flexibility: 30°
  • Size: 40.9 x 26.8 x 0.1 in
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited on parts and labor; up to 25-year performance guarantee

Other features: 36 monocrystalline cells; 6 pre-drilled holes; 36-inch 12 AWG solar cable

A solution to deal with the loss of battery overnight is this flexible solar panel. The junction box has an inbuilt blocking diode. The advantage of having this blocking diode is to sustain the charge in the battery through the nights. You seemingly would not have to face discharge and drainage of the battery hence allowing minimal wastage of charge. This increases the efficiency of battery performance.

These flexible solar panels are designed with 36 monocrystalline cells that could be taped on your RV without much effort. It offers a bendable range of 30 degrees that suits uneven and curved surfaces. With the thickness of about 0.1 inch, this flexible panel weighs about 3.5 lbs. These are laminated adding to the lightweight feature.

Both the panel and the junction box are waterproof, hence allowing them to withstand heavy rainfall and harsh weather.

Installation of these panels could be done using the available mounting holes, stick them to the roofs with an adhesive, or even use Velcro to fasten the edges onto the surface.

Considering these are flexible and thin the capacity of power output is not bad at all. They could push about 22V output under full sun charging a 12.6V lithium battery. The solar power tapped could be used to power a 300W inverter, a fan, and a radio. You get an amplified result of you incorporate a charge controller to minimize loss of charge from the battery. This flexible solar panel provides great assistance in charging batteries to provide power for led lights during nights, useful for charging laptops, phones and also enjoy some television. All this depends on how you plan your battery back-up and how many panels you incorporate.

Why are we impressed?

  • Negates the loss of battery charge.

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • Disintegration of the laminate
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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 4692 people in the past 30 days
8.4
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.3
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.2
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.2
8.4
6
Best Performer in Harsh Weathers

Renogy 50W 12V Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Features
  • Type: monocrystalline
  • Watts: 50W
  • Cell efficiency: 21%
  • Flexibility: 248°
  • Size: 26.5 x 20.0 x 0.08 in
  • Weight: 2.87 lbs
  • Warranty: up to 25-year power output warranty; 5-year material and workmanship warranty

Other features: 32 monocrystalline cells; thin lamination; withstands wind of up to 2400Pa and snow loads of up to 5400Pa

A miniature version of the Renogy 160W is this 50W flexible panel. This lightweight flexible solar panel has a smaller wattage but works in competition with the other similar products. Similar to its 100W design these panels as well could withstand high pressures of wind and snow.

The designers have incorporated tiny dots on the surface of the panel that is transparent. The transparency and dimensions provided by these dots trap the sunlight from different angles. This concept is beneficial in amplifying the utilization of the sunlight by 50%. This process helps to increase the conversion rate as well.

These panels are 0.08 inches thin and weigh just about 2.87 lbs. The lightweight is also contributed by the usage of advanced polymer materials. Comparatively the weight of these panels is 70% less than the rigid solar panels.

Its flexibility and size render it to be a good option for a flexible solar panel for marine vessels. Depending on your need you could install multiple panels in series or parallel connections. When it comes to small spaces and off-grid locations these seem to be a good investment. They could be fixed on inconsistent surfaces using Velcro, adhesive tapes or you could utilize the mounting holes provided. There are situations where these panels could be fixed on your windscreen, temporarily and it works good enough to gain a full charge by the end of the day.

What are our favorite features?

  • Functional in low-light
  • 248-degree flex
  • Durable under high pressures

What could be better?

  • Slim chances of unwrapping and delamination
  • Short leads making these panels hard to stack.
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Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 7838 people in the past 30 days
8.2
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
7.9
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
7.8
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.0
8.2
Features
  • Type: monocrystalline
  • Watts: 50W
  • Cell efficiency: up to 23.5%
  • Flexibility: 30°
  • Size: 22 x 21 x 0.09 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Warranty: 18-month limited

Other features: 4 pre-drilled mounting holes

Spending a lot of time in various temperatures and climates, you may need something to power your mini home at a reasonable cost-efficiently. This could be a viable solution to trap the solar power on the move or off the grid.

Don’t let the size fool you. These flexible solar panels maybe just 2.4 lbs, which is slightly over 1 kg but the power capacity cannot be underestimated. This flexible solar panel proves its efficiency by allowing the surface to capture as much sunlight as possible and converting it into the usable current. While the average transformation capacity is around 15%, this product could expand this to reach a good 22%.

Categorized as a semi-flexible solar panel, it provides 30% flexibility. These could fit on the roofs of your house, mobile homes, cabins, tent, cars, etc. These flexible solar panels are operable under temperatures ranging from -40 to +85 degrees Celsius. Its ability to withstand pressures measuring around 5400Pa portrays its durability.

This powerful, flexible, and durable solar panel comes with an 18-month guarantee. This speaks for the performance of the products.

What are its best features?

  • Weighs just 1.1 Kgs
  • Performance in high pressure and extreme temperatures

What could be improved?

  • Customer service may not be up to mark

Things to Consider

Sustainable energy is the future. Solar energy is sustainable, powerful, and can be available in most parts of the world. To efficiently utilize solar energy in remote areas or transit, you need to invest in the appropriate technology. Flexible solar panels tend to do this job. Here’s a list of guidelines to invest in the best flexible solar panel.

Flexible solar panel: How it works, its benefits and drawbacks

7 Best Flexible Solar Panels for RVs, Boats, and Bending Surfaces (Summer 2022)

Flexible solar panels achieve a certain bendable range to custom-fit surfaces that and uneven and curvy. They are extremely thin and lightweight to enable its function.

These panels and amazingly easy to move around with and are easy to install. Therefore they could be used on any movable vehicle, used in camping sites, cabins, for marine vessels, or any other suitable arena.

There is a reason that these panels do not necessarily come in large sizes. The thermal and mechanical pressure on this panel increases as the size is increased. This causes an imbalance in functionality.

Features to consider before you buy a flexible solar panel

Certain determining features would help you choose the flexible solar panel that is best suited for your needs. These features could be largely classified as mentioned below.

Power

The wattage, voltage, conversion rate, transformation rate all together determine the power output of the panels. The technology incorporated in designing the solar panels plays a crucial role. So far, the shingle and honeycomb technologies have provided to increase power output. The installation of more panels also enables to capture more power and increase the rate of conversion and transmission. All these aspects together would help you weigh the power output provided by the product.

Efficiency

The efficiency of the flexible solar panels is measured by its capacity to produce specified output in different weather conditions without compromising its longevity. Most of the time, these panels are used on vehicles to tap energy on the move or when you’re in remote locations. Therefore these need to be built to handle nature’s ruggedness.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the key feature of this product. More flexible the panel, the better are the chances of it fitting in curved and uneven surfaces. The most flexible models on the list are produced by Renogy – they are up to 248 degress flexible.The concept enables these panels to fit flush on the surface and access maximum sunlight. The bendable feature achieves these two aspects without complications.

Size and weight

7 Best Flexible Solar Panels for RVs, Boats, and Bending Surfaces (Summer 2022)

Flexible solar panels are way thinner than the rigid panels making them lightweight. The laminate material used to make these panels also contribute to its lightness. Panels of this kind come in manageable sizes suitable for individuals to install and transport them single-handedly and with ease.

Warranty

The warranty of these products differs from one brand to the other. Many of the products claim to have a warranty period of about 25 years (the RICH SOLAR model, for instance). Most of the times they come with at least 18 months guarantee. But these two features depend on the company policies. Beware of false claims when it comes to the longevity of power output. The warranty and guarantee features should be mentioned in the specifications for the respective product.

FAQ

Flexible solar panels could be installed by using adhesive tapes, utilizing the given holes to fasten it to the surface, using Velcro, by hanging them or you could make a suitable framework.

First, you need to make sure your surface is clean. Then use a silicone adhesive to stick the panel to the surface.

Some opt for a PVC frame that could be tilted to face the sunlight as it moves.

If the surface is something like a Bimini, you could sow zips on the sides and zip it up.

You have a few options to choose from when it comes to putting the flexible solar panel in your respective facets.

Yes, solar panels need to be waterproof as they are exposed to the exterior of your home or vehicle. Some come with a nonstick coating to ensure that the water cleans the dust and does not infiltrate the panel causing shorting. Down to the junction box of these flexible panels and waterproof.

Without this feature, you cannot have them installed on exterior surfaces or even expect them to function in extreme weather conditions like hurricanes and snowstorms.

Solar panels work their best when they have full exposure to the sun. Their conversion rate and power output it at its best on sunny days.

They do function in low light but the efficiency with which they perform depends on the technology adopted to trap the available sunlight to the maximum capacity and the rate at which this energy is transformed for suitable consumption.

With built-in bypass diodes, you could expect fairly good performance even in cloudy weather. It’s important to have a panel that would provide resistance to loss of battery charge. This could help with better performance. Honeycomb technology and shingle technology also give a lending hand to enhance power output during cloudy weather.

Our Verdict

Considering the product specifications and customer feedback into account these would be our top picks.

Our first choice also is the Renogy solar panel that has the 160 Watt power output. With a wide range of flexibility, permanence, and durability under harsh conditions make it fit to utilize in the testing environment, which essentially is where the best flexible solar panels show their efficiency.

Rich Solar due to its product features, versatility, and outstanding performance is the second-best flexible solar panel. The honeycomb technology increases power output. ETFE feature keeps it running efficiently in ridiculously hot temperatures. The sugar coating to this product is the fact that it is 100% recyclable.

Renogy 100W is quite similar to the 160W version. Due to the lower wattage, the size is quite manageable and it also weighs lighter. You could install two panels to make the wattage output surpass the 160W version. Apart from the decreased power output, this is seemingly a good fit to suit personal needs.

References

1.
Own Your Power!
A Consumer Guide to Solar Electricity for the Home.
2.
Flexible Solar Panels: Everything You Need to Know
From digital nomads to outdoor enthusiasts, flexible solar panels are a great on-the-go option for providing clean, renewable energy wherever life takes you.
3.
How Does Solar Work? | Department of Energy
Learn solar energy technology basics: solar radiation, photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), grid integration, and soft costs.
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