The Best Flexible Solar Panels

The Best Flexible Solar Panels

Flexible solar panels are useful for charging small electronics, when you are hiking or boating. These type of solar panels have no trouble charging devices like cell phones, tablet computers, LED lanterns, flashlights and AA battery chargers. Larger devices can be charged with these panels, but the charging time will be quite long.Flexible solar panels consist of a layer of photovoltaic cells atop a flexible substrate. They use thin-film technology, which is currently less efficient than traditional crystalline silicon solar cells, but it uses fewer materials and provides the slimness necessary to achieve flexibility. Advances in thin-film technology are resulting in improved efficiency and lower costs. There are many consumer products available today that utilize flexible solar panels, and we’ve taken a look at reviews on sites such as Backcountry.com, BestFlexibleSolarPanels.com, Amazon, and Preparedness Advice Blog in order to discover the best. Here is our list of the best flexible solar panels:Brunton Solarroll 14″]

Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL-136

Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL-136

Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL-136 ($447)

Pros:

  • Simple installation
  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • May need to purchase additional cables

Top Review Sources:

  • BestFlexibleSolarPanels.com: 4.5/5.0 “One of the very best inventions in solar as far as we’re concerned”
  • Amazon: 5.0/5.0 (1 review)
  • Amazon: 3.5/5.0 (3 reviews) (PVL-68)

The Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL-136 is a commercial-grade, peel-and-stick flexible solar panel. As its name implies, each PowerBond PVL-136 panel will produce 136 watts, and multiple PVL-136s can be chained together for increased output. This panel is intended to be installed on building, boat, and RV rooftops, though it will work just about anywhere with a clean, large surface. The PVL-136 stays put because of its adhesive backing and will not slide off even in high winds or high heat. In fact, its high-heat operation distinguishes it from crystalline silicon, which degrades in performance as temperatures rise. The PVL-136 works in temperatures up to 185 °F. It is able to operate in low-light and shadowy conditions because of its amorphous solar cells. Each panel measures 216” L x 15.5” W x 0.2” D and weighs 17 pounds. The PVL-136 comes with a five-year warranty.

Purchase the Uni-Solar PowerBond PVL-136 solar panel on Amazon. You’ll also find the smaller PVL-68 ($234) and larger PVL-144 ($465).

PowerFilm R14

PowerFilm R14

PowerFilm R14 ($200)

Pros:

  • Rugged construction
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Adapters for devices not included

Top Review Sources:

  • Preparedness Advice Blog: “I was impressed with the one we had the opportunity to test”
  • Amazon: 5.0/5.0 (1 review) (R28)

The PowerFilm R14 is a flexible solar charger designed to charge small- and medium-size devices such as netbooks, LED lanterns, and 12-volt batteries. The R14 is built to move, with a rollable, waterproof design and extreme temperature operability. It is useful for camping, hiking, and marine excursions. If it is punctured, it will continue to provide solar power, though its ability to repel water will be compromised. The R14 produces 14 watts and is able to function in cloudy conditions. When unrolled, it measures 14.5” W x 42” L (14.5” W x 4” diameter when rolled) and weighs about a pound. Devices are connected via the included RA-2 female cigarette lighter adapter, so make sure you have the proper cord for the gadget you wish to charge. Reviewers like the durability of the R14 and praise its performance/size balance.

Amazon sells the PowerFilm R14. Amazon also sells other rollable solar panels in the PowerFilm line, including the smaller R7 ($140) as well as the larger R21 ($270) and R28 ($346).

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