Solar panel choices, flexible or rigid?

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Anthony Memoli
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Joined: 11/13/2016 - 07:35
Solar panel choices, flexible or rigid?

Because our energy needs are rather small, as is our camper, and after some recommendations from board members, I've decided on a small portable system I can set up in the morning to track the sun during the day. Renogy makes a 50 watt rigid panel kit, 27"x24" and Dokio makes an 80 watt flexible kit. 22"x40", foldable to 22"x20" The Renogy costs more than the Dokio but price is not a determining factor in this scenario. Both of these will fit upright behind the front seat of our tv, which is the best place I can think of to transport it. I've read pros and cons of both types of panels but am looking for some opinions from users of either type before I make my decision. Any recommendations? 

Greg A
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Joined: 11/02/2013 - 18:45
Solar Panel

Anthony,

I’ve known several folks that have used the 50w Renogy portable and were very satisfied with it. 

While the technology has improved on the flexible panels, they won’t last anywhere near as long as the Renogy. The surface on the flex panels will scratch and cloud up, especially on the portables where they’re being moved around and stored a lot. Usually, after about two to three years, the flex panels look pretty rough. It will affect the solar performance as well. The Renogy you will be able to use for 15-20+ years and pass it to your next trailer. The only advantage of the flex panel over the fixed would be the weight/thinner, but a 50w portable is not that heavy to be unmanageable.

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2015 19 Escape

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Anthony Memoli
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Solar Panel

Thanks for the information Greg. I think the 50 watt Renogy will do the job fine.

Anthony Memoli

Gordon2
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Joined: 04/26/2015 - 07:01
I just bought two 50 watt

I just bought two 50 watt Renogy panels (before the tariff induced price increase), and a $20 aluminum piano hinge.  Riveted the hinge on with twenty alum rivets. The rivets that Scamp uses for curtain rod holders fit perfectly.  I'm going to try two Kayak handles (one on each panel for redundancy).  I'm still looking for legs but maybe wont worry about them.  And maybe just a bungee wot hold it closed. No controller since I use the one I put in the camper. Its not light -about 17 lbs without legs and not really much cheaper than the pre-made Renogy 100 watt suitcase by the time your get done, but it should hold up very well and is a little easier to handle and store than a single 100 watt panel.

One could always keep two 50 watt panels separate, using only one but if you need the extra juice, then connect them in parallel.