Best Semi-flexible marine Solar Panels in 2021

Solar today is great for boats and ships. Panels don’t smell and are silent, plus even in the open sea they keep working as long as the sun is around. Boat installations are where semi-flexible marine solar panels are quite popular. PV modules produce DC to charge the house battery for all the appliances you have on the board: from a GPS navigator to a microwave. Let’s talk about what makes them so great.

Here are the main advantages of flexible marine solar panels:

  • installation
  • price
  • durability
  • configurations & weight

First of all, semi flexible marine solar panels are really easy to fix on your boat. Usually, adhesives are used, but fasteners are also an option. In fact, these modules are so light that even duct tape is a viable option. You can put them literally anywhere: the deck, the canvas, the stern rail, the mast or even the sails.

Flexible photovoltaics are generally considered to be the cheapest type of solar panels. They are easy to manufacture, but in exchange these panels have lower efficiency of 10%-13%. What is more, the lifespan of such modules is shorter — 10-15 years. The low price makes it easier to replace them if needed.

One of the qualities of flexible panels is their durability — manufacturers claim that you can step on them and it won’t cause any issues. It is reassuring if panels are installed on the deck — after all, the sailor often has to move around the boat quickly. However, stepping on solar panels can’t be recommended. After all, the pressure causes microcracks in PV modules that are invisible to a naked eye, but decrease in power output and shorten the lifespan. Nevertheless, a sailor can rely fully on solar power in the open sea. Photovoltaics can withstand harsh storms and heavy waves — the strong winds aren’t a threat for them.

Finally, it might be hard to find a flat surface on a boat, but with semi flexible modules you don’t need to. The flexibility of these modules allow you to ignore to a certain extent the configurations of your boat. Marine solar panels are often susceptible to shading: the mast and sails often block the sun. To fight this problem manufacturers add bypass diodes that significantly lower the lower caused by shading.