How your semi-flexible solar panels die a slow death

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.

 

 

 

   

        


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