How your semi-flexible solar panels die a slow death

October 29, 2018

Semi-flexible solar panels such as the Tacoma-130 by Flexopower follow the curvature of the roof and are popular on vehicles, RV's and trailers. As with anything, semi-flexible panels have limitations, aerodynamic fluttering will gradually damage them!

When travelling to destination, they are exposed to speeds of 80+ km/h. If there are any gaps between the solar panel and the roof, no matter how small, the aerodynamics will cause the solar panel to flutter. Prolonged fluttering gradually disconnects the cells. The result is a solar panel which delivers virtually zero after a few trips. 

Here is an example. A client in Rustenburg has 3 x Tacoma-130 on his off-road trailer. All 3 panels stopped working after two trips. Interestingly at the same time. Flexopower replaced under warranty. 6 months later the same customer reported that none of the 3 newly installed solar panels were working. They had failed again.

An inspection of the installation clearly showed gaps between the roof and the panels. The panels were bolted to the roof structure, but unfortunately the edges were not sealed against airflow. The resulting air ingress moved the entire bodies, getting worse with increasing speed causing the panels to die a slow death.

 The following footage shows the above clients panel installation. Movements start at approx. 40km/h. 

In conclusion, any semi-flexible solar panel will fail if not sealed against air flow. Mechanical mounts will not prevent the panel from fluttering. If your panel is exposed to fluttering, it is not covered by warranty.

Questions? Comments? Contact us, we are happy to help.

 

 

 

   

        

Lithium444 Power Pack by Flexopower

May 10, 2018

Lithium444 power pack artwork

The portable Lithium power pack by Flexopower is packed with lots of great features including high-quality Lithium Polymer batteries, MPPT solar charge controller, ultra-pure sine wave inverter and patented safety features.

The AC ultra-pure sine wave output delivers continuous 400W and is suitable for sensitive electronics including power tools, mixers, laptops, TV. 

The DC output runs appliances from the 5V USB and 12V Cigarette lighter adapter.

Re-charge the Lithium444 from mains or in camp from the Mojave-120 solar panel or while driving from a12V car plug without the need for a dual battery system.

A bystanders comment

March 18, 2018

This recent episode is from Pretoria, South Africa an overlander checking out a completed installation of 2 x Tacoma-120's on a trailer. We share his comments (in Afrikaans):

"Kyk hoe mooi lyk hierdie sonpanele op die Maximi karavaan se dak. (Dis nie my wa nie want ek is nog te arm). En kyk net hoe charge die goed - 10 uur gisteroggend! Die laaste wat ek gekyk het, was 16A. So hierdie stelsel werk baie mooi."   

The Tacoma-120 by Flexopower is a quality semi-flexible solar panel built with Maxeon Gen III cells. Full product details click here

Tacoma120Tacoma120x2 read outTacoma120x2

Mojave120 output in rain

February 19, 2018

It is a heavy overcast day in Johannesburg with rain. A welcome gift for an arid area like South Africa. But how does the new Mojave120 perform in these conditions? It was laid flat on a wall, connected to an AGM/Gel deep cycle battery via the 30A MPPT charge controller and the high-performance solar cells of the Mojave fired up instantly. The read-out over a 1h period was a constant 1.5A with occasional peaks up to 1.9A. 

We were quite impressed with the overcast/rain performance of the Mojave120. In camp, every Amp counts especially during a rainy day.

Mojave120 in the rain

Toyota Fortuner in the rain

MPPT read out

 

Your solar panel is only as good as the cells inside...

January 31, 2018

...latest US solar cell technology hard at work.

Flexopower's new Mojave solar system is built with genuine Sunpower Maxeon Gen III. The most efficient solar cell commercially available. 

The Mojave solar system by Flexopower is modern, durable and very powerful, delivering 25-30% extra power compared with panels built with conventional cells.

- no light-induced degradation, same power even after 20 years

- lowest temperature coefficient for crystalline cells, more power in real life conditions

- superior low light performance, more energy when overcast 

- superb spectral response

- crack resistant

- cool aesthetics, anti-reflective

Buy online or contact your nearest dealer.

 

MPPT read out of the Mojave-240 Solar kit by Flexopower

December 15, 2017

The new Mojave-240 solar kit by Flexopower is manufactured with US Sunpower cells. They are mono-crystalline and the cells in our kits have an average efficiency of 22,5%. Its spectral absorption is one of the best for commercially available crystalline Silicone cells and its temperature coefficient slightly better than conventional mc-Si cells. The result is a superior solar performance. 

The Mojave kit has integrated supporting legs for increased performance during low sun angles. The legs tilt the panel up by 45 degrees, perfect in the morning and late afternoons. 

Combine the light-weight, compact and glass free design with its power output, this kit will be the choice for the seasoned overlander.

For the fun of it, we measured the output of the Mojave-240 at 10 am on 15. December in Johannesburg, South Africa (summer time in the Southern hemisphere). Materials used were Mojave-240 solar kit, 105A AGM/Gel deep cycle battery, 20A MPPT charge controller and 15A dump load connected to the battery.

The result is listed below.

For more information send an email to info@flexopower.com or visit Flexopower South Africa.

Mojave 240 standing

Mojave-240 solar kit facing the sun in the morning. Supporting legs angle the cells to capture more sunlight.

 

Mojave-240 kit laying flat on ground

When the sun is no longer low, simply flap up the legs and lay the Mojave-240 kit flat on the surface.

MPPT reading of the Mojave-240

Reading of the Mojave-240 at 10 am in Johannesburg on 15. December (summertime in the Southern hemisphere)

Mojave-240 solar kit folded up and ready to go 

The same Mojave-240 solar kit folded up and ready to go.

For more information send an email to info@flexopower.com or visit Flexopower South Africa.

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