Semi-flexible solar panels such as the Tacoma-130 by Flexopower follow the curvature of the roof and are popular on vehicle, RV and trailer roofs.
When travelling to destination, roof mounted panels can be subject to aerodynamic fluttering. If there are gaps between the solar panel and the roof, air is entering causing the solar panel to flutter. Aerodynamic fluttering can be severe and prolonged exposure gradually disconnects the cells. The result is a continuous loss of power until failure of the solar panel.
Here is an example. A client of Flexopower installed 3 x Tacoma-130 on his off-road trailer. All 3 panels stopped working at the same time, after two trips only. They had zero output. Flexopower replaced under warranty. 6 months later the same customer reported that the 3 newly installed solar panels had failed again.
An inspection of the installation showed gaps between the roof and the panels. The panels were bolted to the roof structure, but the side edges were not sealed against airflow. The resulting air ingress caused fluttering of all 3 solar panels, getting worse with increasing speed.
The following footage shows the above clients panel installation. Movement of the panel starts at approx. 40km/h.
In conclusion, any semi-flexible solar panel will fail, if not sealed against air flow. Mechanical mounts alone will not prevent the panel from fluttering. Secure your semi-flexible solar panel against fluttering.
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