Some RV owners do not like installing rigid solar panels on their vehicles. Not only is it heavy, immobile, and aesthetically unpleasant. Rigid solar panels are also more expensive.
The best flexible solar panels for RV effectively address these issues, allowing RV owners to enjoy a steady supply of clean and renewable energy for their vehicle’s appliances and gadgets.
Taking advantage of a flexible solar panel’s wonderful benefits requires knowing how to choose the best product to put in your RV. We will show you how while sharing with you ten of the most exciting flexible solar panels you can buy.
Table of Contents
- Best Flexible Solar Panel for RV Reviews 2021
- 1. Renogy 100W Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- 2. Solar Cynergy 120W Monocrystalline Flexible-Bendable Solar Panel
- 3. RICH SOLAR 100W Extremely Flexible ETFE Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- 4. XINPUGUANG 200W Monocrystalline Flexible Solar Panel Kit
- 5. SunPower 110W Flexible Solar Panel
- 6. ECO-WORTHY 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
- 7. HQST 100W Monocrystalline High-Flexible Solar Panel
- 8. Newpowa 100W Semi-Flex Solar Panel
- 9. Topsolar 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
- 10. DOKIO 100W Semi-Flexible Solar Panel
- What to Look for When Buying Flexible Solar Panels for RV
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Best Flexible Solar Panel for RV Reviews 2021
1. Renogy 100W Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
RV owners love Renogy solar panels because of their solar efficiency, durability, and overall product quality. These attributes are present in the latest brand creation and more. The 100W Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel is perfect for curved surfaces.
There are many things to love about this solar panel. It has unbeatable flexibility, capable of producing a 248-degree arc. Most flexible solar panels can only bend at a maximum of 30 degrees. This capability makes this solar panel the ideal solution for deep-angled surfaces.
This flexible solar panel is exceptionally lightweight at about four pounds. Other flexible solar panels weigh twice to thrice this product, making it easy to carry around and install by yourself. It is also 95% thinner than traditional solar panels, giving it a stealthy appearance on your RV.
While it is lightweight, its structural integrity is phenomenal. It can resist 5400 Pa of snow and 2400 Pa strong winds. Its junction box is also IP68-rated, making you feel more comfortable about the product’s safety and performance. This flexible solar panel is as tough and robust as conventional solar panel systems.
Premium-quality monocrystalline silicon cells make up the panels of this product. They are more efficient in turning sunlight into electricity, allowing you to charge your deep cycle batteries, power your electrical appliances.
Two things puzzled me about this Renogy flexible solar panel. First, product quality is inconsistent. Some customers report solar panel failure after only four months, while others say their system lasted several years. It is also somewhat bothersome that customers are having some issues with the company’s customer service.
2. Solar Cynergy 120W Monocrystalline Flexible-Bendable Solar Panel
Motorhome owners who want high efficiency flexible solar panels for their vehicles should consider this product from Solar Cynergy. It provides more power for your batteries and appliances to make your RV adventures more pleasant and enjoyable.
As one of the best flexible solar panels for RV roof and boat decks, this product can convert at least 18 percent sunlight into electricity. It allows you to go boondocking without having to give up the modern comforts of home.
While this product is not as ultra-flexible as the Renogy, you can still mount it on any surface with a maximum curve of 30 degrees. It is perfect for maximizing the space on your RV roof or even your boat deck. You can also mount this on the top of your car.
This 36-cell solar panel delivers 120 watts of power with a maximum current of 6 amps and a maximum voltage of 20 volts. The system should be enough to quickly recharge your deep cycle batteries or even power up some of your electric gadgets and appliances.
Do take note that you will need to buy other components because this is not a complete kit.
I like this flexible solar panel’s clean design, although some brands look more awesome. The solar cells feature a PET coating to make them as durable as possible.
Unfortunately, there are complaints about the product lasting only a year. A solar panel with an ETFE polymer coating would be ideal for those who want a more durable product.
3. RICH SOLAR 100W Extremely Flexible ETFE Monocrystalline Solar Panel
RICH SOLAR offers motorhome owners a dependable 100W flexible solar panel they can mount on their vehicle’s roof.
This product features an advanced ETFE coating that improves solar panel strength without affecting its 30-degree flexibility. It is a good choice for people who want to maximize curved surface areas, such as boat decks, RV roofs, and car tops.
The system is also ideal for off-grid homes because of its variable mounting options. You can easily place this on almost any surface because of its four pre-drilled holes. It is all a matter of securing these holes to the surface. You will already have an excellent solar system to power your electrical devices or charge your battery.
Unlike many 12V flexible solar panels, this product is lightweight and thin. It is only an eighth of an inch thick and weighs only less than five pounds. These physical attributes give this flexible solar panel the portability and ease of installation that many RV owners require.
The integrated junction box is also IP68-rated. While there is no information about its wind and snow load capacities, you can be sure that this flexible solar panel will never balk under environmental pressures.
Unfortunately, running the product requires an appropriate charge controller or other components. Its efficiency rating is also lower than the leading brand. However, it is still within the standard efficiency of monocrystalline solar panels.
4. XINPUGUANG 200W Monocrystalline Flexible Solar Panel Kit
Most of the flexible solar panels on the market do not come with a charge controller. The XINPUGUANG does. This Chinese-made flexible solar panel has enough features to make it ideal for budget-conscious RV owners.
This RV flexible solar panel kit already comes with a 20-amp charge controller, perfect for recharging deep cycle batteries without taking out another expense. It is a kit with all the components you will ever need to mount this on your RV and charge your batteries instantly.
Most systems come with a single 100-watt panel. This brand offers you two, giving you a combined power output of 200 watts. It should be enough to cycle your batteries faster, allowing you to use RV appliances without worrying about power failure.
Each solar panel weighs only 2.2 pounds and is about 0.11 inches thick, making it easy to install the product yourself. While thin, it can withstand heavy snow loads, high wind pressure, and temperature extremes.
It is also worth pointing out that this flexible solar system can convert at least 19.8 percent sunlight into DC electricity for different applications. It is higher than most brands that typically have an efficiency rating of between 11 and 18 percent.
The only thing that might scare people away from this product is its Chinese origin. It is crucial to understand that there are Chinese brands that strive to provide high-quality products. If any, it is the issue of product durability that should concern you. While few, it is still worth noting that some of these products may not last if claimed.
5. SunPower 110W Flexible Solar Panel
Reading a single SunPower flexible solar panels review is often enough to give you an idea that this SunPower Solar Panel is the best in the industry. It may not be as flexible as the 248-degree-arcing Renogy, but it sure can top the charts with its solar efficiency.
While most flexible solar panels can only convert up to 18 percent sunlight into usable electric current, this product can be 25% efficient. It can outclass standard solar panels with a rigid design. Its solar efficiency translates to faster deep cycle battery charging times and more power to RV gadgets, devices, and appliances.
This product features an ingenious Maxeon Solar Cell technology that integrates high-grade copper in its foundation. The design allows the solar panel to retain its power-generating capability in case of corrosion or cracks in the panel. You get to maximize its 110-watt power output.
It is also portable enough for effortless carry and hassle-free installation. The solar panel is only 0.1 inches thick and weighs 4.4 pounds. Stowing it in your RV should never pose a problem.
Many customers also love the solar panel’s warranty. The company covers five years for its solar panel’s power-generating capabilities and two years for the parts. Their warranty is sufficiently longer than what other brands offer, giving you a clear idea about the product’s quality.
Unfortunately, this product costs a little higher than average. The cost also tends to increase since it does not come with a charge controller, which can set you back by at least another $100 or so.
6. ECO-WORTHY 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
If you are already tired of the traditional solar panels’ boring design, you should seriously consider the ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel. It has one of the most aesthetically pleasing designs on the market without undermining its solar efficiency.
While most of the flexible RV solar panels have a visible grid-like pattern, this one is different. Its unique shingle design eliminates the wide spaces between individual solar cells, which gives the solar panel a cleaner and more uniform look. People will never know you have solar panels on your RV’s roof.
The monocrystalline photovoltaic cells are also 15 percent more efficient than conventional systems. You get to power your RV’s electrical gadgets and appliances more efficiently while charging your deep cycle batteries faster than other systems.
However, I find its 5.21-amp maximum current output to be a bit lower than other 100-watt solar panel products.
I find the solar panels’ construction to be intriguing. It is slick, making it effortless to maintain its stain-free nature. It also uses more advanced ETFE polymer coating technology to enhance its structural integrity. No strong winds nor heavy snow can ever put a dent in this solar panel’s appearance and performance.
Leading flexible solar panel brands often have a thickness of about 0.1 inches. This product is a bit thicker by another 0.05 inches. On the positive side, it is still thinner than rigid systems, allowing you to establish a stealthy solar energy solution for your RV or boat.
7. HQST 100W Monocrystalline High-Flexible Solar Panel
The HQST Solar Panel is a wise choice for people living off the grid. It is also ideal for those who own RVs, motorhomes, teardrop trailers, caravans, and even boats. Its advanced solar panel technology makes it more efficient than other flexible solar energy solutions.
These RV flexible solar panels have a high-efficiency rating, capable of absorbing more sunlight and transforming them into usable energy. Charging deep cycle batteries to operate multiple power-hungry devices is easy with this system.
Unfortunately, you will have to purchase a separate charge controller because this product does not provide any.
This solar panel, weighing only four pounds, is lighter than other flexible solar panels. It is also thinner by at least 0.05 inches. These physical characteristics make it a breeze to move about and to install by yourself.
This product has a waterproof junction box. At least, you will never have to worry about the product not functioning after a drizzle. You can ensure the optimal operation of your system.
Speaking of installation, you can secure this product on any surface using only adhesive tape or glue. You can also fix it using Velcro or Zip ties. Its non-permanent installation improves its versatility. You can install it in your RV and reinstall it on your boat. Secure it on an appropriate stand, and this baby will power up your off-grid house.
Aside from the absence of a charge controller with the package, this solar panel is also less flexible than Renogy’s 248-degrees. Nevertheless, it remains within the acceptable degree of bending of standard flexible solar panels.
8. Newpowa 100W Semi-Flex Solar Panel
This semi flexible solar panel review is for the Newpowa Solar Panel. This product has almost the same features as other flexible solar panels, except for its design. Where most products feature PET polymers, this one offers a combination of premium-quality polymers.
At the forefront of this solar panel’s polymer technology is ETFE. A TPT material forms the foundation of the solar cell, followed by the ETFE coat. Sandwiching the silicon photovoltaic cell are high-quality EVA materials. The solar panel’s unique construction enhances its structural integrity while improving its solar-gathering capability.
This flexible solar panel’s design lets you enjoy clean energy for the next five years. If you observe proper care and maintenance, you can increase its service life by another five years. Its IP68-rated components work with the panel’s sturdy construction to make it last if you can possibly hope for.
It will be a mistake to think this solar panel is as flexible as the Renogy 248. This product can only bend a maximum of 30 degrees, which is currently the standard for flexible solar panels.
What you may have to think about is the absence of a charge controller with your purchase. You will have to purchase it separately to enjoy the full benefits of using this flexible solar panel.
I appreciate Newpowa’s honesty. Unlike other companies that put ‘ultra-flexible’ in their labels, this brand opted to put ‘semi-flex’ instead. This labeling gives you a heads up on what to expect.
9. Topsolar 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
The Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel provides 100W of pure and clean energy to run different motorhome appliances. You can also use this product for off-grid and marine applications. Whenever there is a need for a more cost-effective energy solution, you can expect this product to deliver.
Designed for 12-volt battery systems, this solar panel can get your battery recharged quicker and safer. It is among the most efficient flexible solar panels on the market, capable of converting at least 20 percent of solar energy into electrical energy.
Recharging batteries and powering appliances in different applications are a breeze with this system.
Its monocrystalline photovoltaic cells come wrapped in ETFE for superior durability and solar transmissibility. The advanced polymer allows the solar panel to generate more DC electricity from sunlight compared to other brands. This solar panel is 50 percent more efficient than rigid solar panels.
You will also be glad to learn that this flexible solar panel tips the scale at only 3.97 pounds. Most of the products we see on the market weigh more than four. Its lightweight characteristic improves its portability and ease of setting up. A novice DIYer can easily mount this product on any surface.
Unfortunately, it is not as thin as other brands. This product is still thin at about 0.15 inches when compared to rigid systems. Its maximum flex is also only 30 degrees. You may not be able to use it on surfaces with a more acute angle. If you need a solar panel with a greater flex, this one is not for you.
10. DOKIO 100W Semi-Flexible Solar Panel
People looking for affordable and good-quality flexible solar panels for boats and RVs should consider the DOKIO 100W Semi-flexible Solar Panel. It is one of the brand’s most popular solar energy solutions. It is not surprising to see this product alongside top-tier systems as a backup unit.
With high-quality monocrystalline photovoltaic cells coated with ETFE, this solar panel can absorb at least 19 percent sunlight for conversion into DC electricity. With the right charge controller, you can harness the electricity to power different AC appliances and devices.
The system has a higher working current of about 5.56 amperes compared to other brands. Recharging your batteries is faster, allowing you to continue using the different appliances in your boat or motorhome.
I find its thickness remarkable. It is only 0.09 inches thick, while most flexible solar panels have a thickness of about 0.15 inches. Though the difference may not seem that much, it can still provide for a sleeker appearance on any surface.
People will not notice that the black panel on your RV roof is a solar panel. Instead, they might think it is an integral part of your vehicle.
Installing the flexible solar panel is also straightforward with eight reinforced mounting holes. You can also use adhesive tape to secure the solar panel.
Though thin, it is a bit heavier than other brands. I am puzzled to learn about the solar panel’s durability. Those with ETFE polymer coating typically last at least five years. A few users complained of the product not even lasting one year. Hopefully, these issues are not a systemic problem.
What to Look for When Buying Flexible Solar Panels for RV
In this section, you will learn some of the most important things to look for when shopping for the right flexible solar panel for your motorhome.
Type of Flexible Solar Panel
The first thing you may have to consider is the type of solar panel you want to buy. Today, flexible solar panels come in three types.
- Crystalline Solar Panels
These solar panels have the same basic construction as rigid solar systems. They only differ in silicon wafer photovoltaic cell thickness. Whereas rigid systems can be 200 to 300 micrometers thick, flexible solar panels are at least 50 percent thinner.
Because they are thin, crystalline solar panels can only generate enough solar power. The good news is that they have a substantial solar energy efficiency rating of about 15 to 20 percent. They can be excellent energy banks for RV, boat, and off-grid applications.
- Thin-film Solar Panels
These solar panels are even thinner than flexible crystalline solar panels. They can be more than 300 times thinner and smaller than conventional silicon solar panels. This solar panel is lightweight and ultra-flexible. It can conform to the natural contours of any object.
The technology calls for the printing or pasting of photovoltaic material on a thin surface. Unfortunately, it is less durable than flexible crystalline solar panels.
- Organic Solar Panels
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology researched the feasibility of using organic materials as solar cells instead of silicon. They also used graphene electrodes to produce a more durable and more flexible solar panel made of natural organic materials.
In general, the higher a solar panel’s wattage rating, the more electronic devices it can power. For example, a 150W flexible solar panel provides you with more power than a 100-watt system. You can plug more appliances into your RV’s electrical system for more extended periods. It is also faster to charge your deep cycle batteries.
While a solar panel with a higher wattage is more useful than one with a lower wattage rating, it is often more expensive. Higher-wattage solar panels are ideal for camping trips and RVs. On the other hand, boats often do well with a single 100-watt unit on the deck.
Solar efficiency reflects the solar panel’s ability to convert solar energy into usable energy. The higher the efficiency rating, the better the solar panel is in transforming sunlight into electricity to run your appliances or charge your batteries.
Most flexible solar panels have an efficiency rating of 11 to 15 percent. More advanced units can provide higher efficiency ratings of up to 25 percent. It would be in your best interest to get a product with a high-efficiency rating.
Most flexible solar panels can bend up to 30 degrees without breaking. However, you should know that some Renogy flexible solar panels can bend up to 248 degrees. These products offer exceptional versatility, allowing you to install them on different surfaces.
Ordinary flexible solar panels typically last only a year or less. Solar panels with PET coating can last about three to five years. On the other hand, flexible solar panels that feature an ETFE coating can improve their service life to ten years.
You may also want to read a flexible solar panels review to gain insight into the product’s durability. You can learn from other customers’ real-world experiences to help you decide whether a flexible solar panel is right for you or not.
Size and Weight
Small flexible solar panels are ideal for small surfaces and for RVs with minimal solar energy requirements. The lightest flexible solar panel weighs about four pounds, while the heaviest can weigh in at eight pounds.
A product’s warranty is almost always a reflection of its quality. High-quality products often have long warranty periods. It shows you how much the company believes in its product’s quality and performance. The company is willing to replace, repair, or refund it if their product fails customer expectations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the most trusted flexible solar panels for RV brands?
Renogy remains the undisputed leader in clean energy solutions for recreational vehicles. Not only is the name synonymous with revolutionary solar energy technology. It is also a formidable design-centric brand. Not to be outdone are SunPower, ECO-WORTHY, and DOKIO with their reliable and durable solar panels.
Other trustworthy solar panel brands for motorhomes and campers include Solar Synergy, Rich Solar, HQST, TP-Solar, and Newpowa. While some people may have reservations about XINPUGUANG, this Chinese brand also makes good-quality solar panels you can trust to put in your RV.
Are RV flexible solar panels any good?
Flexible solar panels are the right choice for RV owners because of their lightweight nature. They do not compromise the RV’s structural integrity. On the other hand, rigid solar panels require mounting hardware that can push the installation cost up. Installing a flexible solar panel can be a one-person job. It is just one of the many advantages of flexible solar panels vs rigid systems.
The nature of this solar panel also allows for hassle-free installation onto an RV’s curved surfaces. You can conform it to your vehicle’s shape, making it an integral part of the RV instead of a sore thumb sticking out from the sides or roof.
While less efficient than rigid solar panels, flexible models can still gather enough solar energy to power your recreational vehicle. Newer flexible solar panel models also tend to last longer than ordinary thin-film solar panels.
How many solar panels do I need to run an RV?
The number of flexible solar panels you need to run your RV depends on the number of batteries you need to keep fully charged. Suppose you have two 12-volt deep cycle batteries capable of delivering 100 Ah each. You will need a solar panel with a minimum power output of 600 watts.
On average, a 100-watt solar panel exposed to 5-9 hours of direct sunlight can provide 30 Ah to a 12-volt battery. If you have a 100 Ah battery, you will need 300W flexible solar panels or at least three 100-watt solar panels.
Keep in mind that the figure is only the average. Some products can provide more Ah for the same wattage rating. There are also environmental factors to consider, such as the length of sunshine exposure.
Are flexible solar panels less efficient?
In general, flexible solar panels are less efficient than rigid types. The average rigid solar panel can have a solar energy efficiency rating of 16 to 20 percent. More advanced monocrystalline systems are more efficient than polycrystalline products.
By comparison, flexible solar panels can only have a solar efficiency rating of 11 to 15 percent. Some products may offer a higher efficiency rating if they integrate newer PV technologies.
How long does a flexible solar panel last?
It depends on the materials used in the solar panel fabrication, including coating materials that increase the solar panel’s durability.
Ordinary thin-film solar panels have a relatively short service life of one to three years. Well-established brands add a thin layer of coating to the solar panels to improve their durability.
Most companies coat their flexible solar panels with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material, improving its service life to five years. Some companies use a more advanced ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) polymer coating to improve solar panel durability to 10 years.
You may also want to consider other factors in determining the longevity of a flexible solar panel. Repeated exposure to harsh environmental and physical conditions can substantially reduce the solar panel’s service life.
The best flexible solar panels for RV provide enough power to charge deep cycle batteries fast and ensure the optimal appliance operation. While it is not as efficient as rigid systems, a flexible solar panel can still convert at least 20 percent sunlight into usable electricity. Its exceptional portability ensures ease of installation, while its design lowers overall cost.
The multifunctional nature of flexible solar panels makes them ideal not only for RVs. It is also excellent for homes, boats, and other applications. It is an eco-friendly solution to powering the different gadgets and appliances in your modern recreational vehicle.