Flexible solar panels are ideal for mounting on RVs, motor homes, campers, boats, tents and even golf buggies as they are lightweight and can follow the curve of the surface they’re mounted on. Most of them are highly efficient in charging up your 12 volt batteries so that you can power what you need to without running that noisy generator.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Flexible Solar Panel
- Thickness – a thinner panel is better because it reduces the weight and makes it more portable.
- Power generating capability – you’ll usually find the output specifications on the back of the panel but as a general guide, a 100-watt panel will normally put out 5.6 to 5.8 amps and 18-21 volts under ideal sunlight conditions.
- Type of solar cell – the SunPower solar cells are slightly more efficient than the monocrystalline ones.
- Type of cabling – most panels come with MC4 connectors which allow you to connect to other panels as well as your controller. Ensure that the length of the cables is sufficient for your needs otherwise you may need to also purchase some extensions.
- Surface material – most flexible panels have a shiny laminate coating which can get scratched, however, this does not affect their performance. Some panels are now coated with a matte rubberized surface giving them extra durability.
- Backing material – most panels are backed with either fiberglass or aluminum for better heat dissipation.
- Bypass diodes – these should be located inside the junction box to allow the current to bypass the panel in the case of excessive shading.
- Grommets – these are used for mounting the panels and panels can have either 4, 6 or 8 of them.
- Warranty – most flexible solar panels have a 1 – 2-year warranty but you can find some with a 10-year warranty or more.
Here is our pick of the top 10 flexible solar panels and solar panel kits.
This is a high efficiency bendable
solar panel with an 18 volt output which uses SunPower solar cells. The SunPower solar cells have an efficiency level of 23% to 25% compared to other panels. This means that the solar cells will capture more sunlight and do not need as many daily sunlight hours compared to conventional solar panels.
It has an internal blocking
diode which prevents reverse current drain at night. The solar panel is very durable and water resistant making it ideal for RVs and boats. Due to the plastic backing sheet, the panel can be curved to a maximum of 30 degrees which makes it easy to mount on your RV, boat, cabin, tent or other uneven surfaces. It only weighs 3 pounds so it’s very easy to transport and mount.
Dimensions are 42.2 x 24.3 x 4.3 inches, it also has 4 grommets for mounting which are reinforced for durability. The cabling is 70 inches long in total, has MC4 connectors and bypass diodes in the junction box all compiled with an 18 month product guarantee.
- Because it’s lightweight, it’s really easy to move around. This is great if you want to put it on a roof section below a window or need to angle it better to catch more sunlight.
- Can easily conform to the shape of an RV roof.
- Easy to install. You can use the grommet holes to screw the panel onto the roof or tie it on with the strong rope or tie wraps. For more security, you could attach strong double sided tape or Velcro to
- Will keep charging even in partial shade.
- It comes with a plastic film on the panel to protect it during transportation. This needs to be removed otherwise it will affect the panel’s efficiency and will deteriorate over time.
The Suaoki flexible solar panel
is similar to the AllPower in that it uses high efficiency SunPower solar cells which means your panel will capture more of the available sunlight even on partly cloudy days. The SunPower solar cells will ensure more sunlight is captured and offer a 23% to 25% efficiency conversion rating. The internal blocking diode will prevent reverse current drain at night.
The panel is very durable and water resistant
especially due to its matte finish. It can be flexed to a maximum of 30 degrees for mounting on all sorts of irregular surfaces including RVs, boats, cabins and tents. This panel is also very lightweight, weighing only 4.85 pounds and the 8 metal reinforced grommets make installation easy and secure.
The cables are 31 inches long each with MC4 connectors and bypass diodes in the junction box. Dimensions are 43.3 x 22.4 x 0.1 inches. The panel has a 1 year warranty
- High durability due to its matte finish.
- 8 grommets instead of only 4 for more secure installation.
- One customer used this solar panel to charge his 12 volts 35ah deep cell battery to charge a laptop, two cell phones, and threeGPS devices all day with no loss of power.
- It’s super thin at only 0.1 inches making it extremely portable.
- Some customers said the first panel they purchased was not working efficiently or stopped working but all were happy to report they received a working replacement and excellent customer service.
Another good solar panel
similar to the AllPower and Suaoki panels. The Kingsolar also uses SunPower solar cells with their high-efficiency conversion rating. Uses SunPower solar cells for high efficiency and also has an internal blocking diode to prevent reverse current drain at night. The panel is very durable and can be flexed to a maximum of 30 degrees.
The corners are rounded
on this panel which prevents being scratched when carrying around. It has 8 grommets for secure mounting and the cabling is 39 inches long, with MC4 connectors and a bypass diode in the waterproof junction box.
Dimensions are 46.1 x 21.1 x 0.1 inches. This panel weighs only 4.86 pounds, is super thin and comes with a 12 month product guarantee.
- The longer cables make it easier to connect across a longer distance without the need of extensions.
- The matte surface provides excellent durability.
- Performs exceptionally well and will provide some charge even in low sunlight. In fact, many customers were surprised that their solar panel still provided charge even in low light conditions and on winter days.
- The junction box is mounted on the underside of the panel which means the panel can’t be installed flush on an RV roof.
- This can be an advantage though if your are mounting it on a more flexible surface as the wiring is concealed.
- The Panel is made from a laminated polymer so will expand a little when it heats up so you may need some flexibility whenmounting.
A different type of flexible
solar panel which uses high efficiency monocrystalline cells which produce more power persquare foot than any other flexible solar panel. Very durable and virtually unbreakable. The monocrystalline solar cells will produce 5.62 amps and around 20.8 volts.
The solar panel is coated
with an impermeable lamination which allows it to flex and contour against any curved surface. It can be mounted using the 6 grommets or by using strong double sided tape or Velcro and the cables are 24 inches with MC4 connectors and a bypass diode in the junction box. The panel weighs only 2.9 pounds making it super light weight for transportation and installation.
Dimensions are 41.7 x 21.3 x 0.6 inches. Kit includes the GP-PWM-30 solar controller. This controller can handle up to 30 amps of solar charge which means youcan use up to 500 watts of solar. Also included in the kit are a set of 25 foot cables to connect to your battery and this panel comes with a 10 year warranty.
- Extremely lightweight and durable. These panels are tough enough to dance on!
- Controller and extra cabling is included so you don’t have to purchase these separately.
- The 10 year warranty is great and speaks well for the durability of these panels.
- A little pricier than other flexible panels but the Go Power panels are tough and designed to withstand all sorts of rough terrain and weather conditions.
A nice lightweight and very thin solar panel
ideal for mounting on RVs and boats.The laminated coating is impervious to saltwater, rain and other weather elements. A durable panel less than 1/8 inch thick making it super portable. Can withstand heavy snow and strong wind loads.
4 grommets for easy installation or tie-down.
Equipped with MC4 connectors and cables are 35 inches long.
Dimensions are 51.5 x 21.3 x 0.1 inches. Warranty is 25 years for power output, 12 years for 90% efficiency rate and 25 years for 80% efficiency rate.
- Very lightweight but durable panels.
- Easy to install with a good length of cable.
- Great warranty.
This is a 50 watt solar panel
for those that need less power or a smaller panel. This panel uses monocrystalline solar cells. The panel is very light weight and flexible making it ideal for camping and road trips.
It has 4 grommets for easy mounting.
Cables are about 12 inches long with MC4 connectors. The panel weighs 2.8 pounds
Dimensions are 42 x 21.2 x 0.12 inches. This panel comes with a 1 year warranty.
- Excellent durability even in extreme weather conditions on the open sea.
- If not careful the surface can become scratched but this does not affect the efficiency of the solar cells.
This solar panel is slightly different
from the ones discussed so far as it’s completely roll-able into a cylinder foreasy storage and can even be carried in a backpack for when you’re going hiking or camping. It’s very durable with marine-grade components so it’s great for boating and sailing. It will perform well in all kinds of weather conditions including cloudy days.
It has 6 grommets for easy installation
or tie-down and a wrap-around fastener for ultimate portability. Includes an RA-2 (12 volt female CLA) connector and a 15 foot extension cord with O-ring terminal connection.
The panel only weighs 1.8 pounds Dimensions are 79.8 x 14.5 inches when fully unrolled.
- Extremely light weight and portable for use while travelling. You could even mount it on your car’s roof rack for easycharging of your mobile phone and other devices while stationary. It can also charge your car battery.
- Portable enough to take to outdoor sporting activities or other events.
- It’s quite long (almost 80 inches) so may not be ideal for all situations where you have limited space for mounting.
This is a smaller and very portable roll-able solar panel ideal for charging cell phones or cameras. Rolls up easily to store in a portable tube which is great for camping, hiking or travelling. Durable construction using Tefzel fluoropolymer. Uses amorphous thin-film solar cells which are effective even in low light conditions.
Built in reverse flow protection. Has a DC outlet cable and an extra cable so that you can link up to 3 rolls together. The panel weighs only 10.6 ounces and has 6 grommets for mounting.
Dimensions are 40 x 12 inches. The panel comes with a 1 year warranty.
- Extremely sturdy for when you’re hiking or camping.
- It’s weatherproof so great for canoeing or kayaking.
- You need a dedicated 12 volt car charger to connect to the panel.
By looking at the above comparison table, you should now be able to decide which flexible solar panel is ideal for your purpose. All of these panels are highly efficient and will provide you with enough power to run your appliances in your RV, boat or motor home as well as charge your cell phones and other hand held devices.