7 Major Problems with Flexible Solar Panels and Their Solutions

Have you made up your mind to install a flexible solar panel?

Are you apprehensive that you will face problems with flexible solar panels?

You need to make your choice with a realistic bent of mind so you cannot afford to go wrong here.

To give you a realistic picture we will explore the issues with the flexible solar panels in detail. As a result, you will have a clear idea of what is coming your way.

They Are Expensive

Flexible Solar Panels

When you compare rigid and flexible panels, then flexible panels make use of less material in comparison to rigid panels.

However, the issue is that the flexible panels are far more expensive in comparison to the rigid solar panels. The watt price of the flexible solar panels is higher than the rigid panels.

Now, what you need to keep in mind is that the flexible solar panels make use of monocrystalline wafers.

The transfer rate of the flexible solar panels is also about 23% that is high when compared to traditional panels.

On the contrary, the rigid panels have a conversion rate of about 18%.

Well, we can reach one conclusion here, and that is flexible solar panels have a more efficient design.

The design also plays a significant role in increasing the price of the flexible panels.

Flexible Panels Can Get Cut by The Sharp Objects

Flexible Panels

When buying the flexible solar panels, remember that they do not use tempered glass or aluminum frames. The setback here is that the flexible panels can get cut by a sharp object.

When we talk about flexible panel plastic laminate, then it is superb when it comes to solar cell protection.

However, the plastic laminate is unable to hold well against the pointed material. Now, you cannot ignore this problem by any means at all.

The reason is that the flexible panels get installed on the RV roofs.

If there are low hanging branches in your vicinity, then they can scratch through the laminate. Additionally, the branches can cause damage to the solar cells.

Can Become Very Hot

Very Hot

Another essential aspect that you need to keep in mind is that flexible solar panels can get very hot.

The reason is that they get installed on the roof. The RV surfaces make use of metal, and this is why they get very hot.

The metal used in RV roofs is conductive, and this is why it can transfer heat to the solar panels. In most of the cases, mounting racks get utilized for installing the panels.

The objective of installing the panels on the mounting racks is to facilitate the airflow underneath the panels.

However, the flexible panels do not get this airflow because they get installed on the roof. What you need to keep in mind is that when the temperature is hot, then solar panels convert less energy.

If the temperature is too hot, then it can burn the plastic laminate of the flexible solar panels as well. The result is that the functioning of the solar panels encounters a hindrance.

It Is Not Possible to Tilt the Flexible Solar Panels at A Specific Angle

Flexible Solar Panels at A Specific Angle

There is another setback of flexible solar panels that you cannot overlook. The installation is such that the solar panels get glued on the top of a surface.

Sometimes the solar panels get installed through the mounting holes. Well, this is a flat installation, and this means that you fixed the flexible panels. As a result, it is impossible to tilt them at an angle.

The problem with this installation is that you will not be able to achieve efficient charging. The efficient charging is possible by tilting the panels at an appropriate angle.

An Impact Can Break the Solar Panels

Solar Panels

If the solar panels make use of tempered glass or aluminum frame, then it is a major plus.

The reason is that both these materials are durable, but flexible panels fall short here. An impact can break the flexible panels in no time.

For example, if there is a hail storm, then it damages the flexible panels. Secondly, if you accidentally step on the flexible panels during installation, then this can also damage them.

Quality Issues

Quality Issues

Here it is essential to discuss yet another problem.

There are many manufacturers currently operating in the market that produce low-quality flexible panels.

If you do not have adequate knowledge, then you can end up buying the wrong panels.

Warranty Limitations

Warranty

When a customer buys a solar panel, then he is keen to go for a safe investment. The warranty introduces the element of security.

Most of the solar panel manufacturers promise a warranty of about a 25 year warranty. Well, this is why as a customer you are not reluctant to buy the panels.

The tragic part is that you are in for some disappointment when you opt for the flexible panels.

The reason is that you get a warranty of about 18 months to 1 year only for the flexible panels. Now, most customers are hesitant to go for a limited-time warranty.

The reason is that it becomes difficult to get the repair done after this time frame. Somehow as a customer, you lose trust in the solar panel manufacturer also.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that limited-time warranty panels have poor quality. Well, this means that they will not last for long.

PID Effect

PID Effect

Another common problem that you might experience upon using these flexible solar panels is this PID effect. For the information, PID stands for ‘Potential Induced Degradation’.

This problem and one of the common issues usually and generally occur when there happens the difference in terms of voltage existing between the solar panel and the earthing.

It is all because of the safety reasons that these flexible solar panels are earthed. And this condition brings the most harmful and risky potential difference.

Moreover, this overall situation brings an ongoing reduction and decreases in the performance of the solar panel and also decreases the accelerated ageing aspect of your PV panel.

In addition, this PID effect decrease and bring down the performance all up to 10%.  It is high time that one needs to address this problem of PID effect immediately.

Otherwise, the demand and purchasing rate of flexible solar panels might get reduced and no one will be interested to buy them.

Snail Trail Contamination

Snail Trail Contamination

Moving to the next issue, we have this snail trail contamination. If this problem starts to occur, then your solar panel will become discolored and shows less performance.

This condition arises because of a large number of reasons and causes.

If your solar panel is making use of a defective kind of front metallization silver paste, then it will likely and probably be showing snail trail contamination.

The presence of Defective silver paste can eventually and generally lead to moisture in your solar panel. This moisture results and leads to oxidation.

Furthermore, this whole of the unwanted process, it releases silver oxide and acetic acid (vinegar) as well as hydrogen.

This effect causes and occurs a chemical breakdown right on the front side of your panel. And it starts to become visible in the form of ‘snail trails’.

If this issue gets to be resolved, then we hope to see fine and improved performance of flexible solar panels.

Micro-Cracks

The last major and common problem with flexible solar panels, it is this occurrence of micro-cracks. This is one of the common phenomena’s that you might have seen and observed in the crystalline PV panels since they are bendable and have curved surfaces.

This issue comes in the form of microscopic tears and resides in the solar cells. In addition, it is during the phase of PV modules production that micro-cracks are produced and developed.

Moreover, during shipping or if anyone of you is carelessly managing and handling their solar panels, then there is a probability that this issue will arise.

It is observed that the presence of micro-cracks, they do not give out production loss immediately, but later on, this issue can become bigger.

The induction of larger micro-cracks, they might severely and intensely damage your solar cells and this whole disturb-filled situation may give your solar panel a huge amount of production loss.

To tackle this issue, multiple and extensive numbers of busbars are induced and installed for the sake of mitigating and handling this problem.

Testing is going on and we hope to see improvement in this area.

No doubt, micro-cracks negatively affect and impact a high percentage of the solar panel modules and pose a significant amount of production and performance loss.

Final Verdict!

Now, that you are aware of the problems with flexible solar panels, it is time to look for a solution. Just because they are not as high quality as a typical solar panel, they are great in certain circumstances, such as on the go campers, someone living on a sailboat or people that live off-grid. As long as they can get enough sunpower they should be able to get enough power output and this is a great diy that anyone can install if they have enough space on their rooftop or anywhere they think they will get maximum power from the sun.

If you are desperate to go for flexible panels only, then we suggest an approach to follow. Before buying flexible panels, make sure that you have a look at the manufacturer website.

Go for the top manufacturers. After the looking at the site, prepare your set of questions.

Only buy flexible panels from a manufacturer that makes use of good quality material, and offers an acceptable warranty period. 

As a result, you will be able to get a smart bargain.

Robert