During the early days of solar technology, investing in solar power for your home meant using one type of solar panel- the rigid solar panel. Fast forward to today, the solar technology industry has witnessed vast improvements, and there’s a variety in solar panels with the invention of rigid and flexible solar panels.
There’s a significant difference in physical appearance. Flexible panels are lighter in weight and easier to move around. This makes them suitable for use on boats and RV solar panels.
Rigid solar panels are the most commonly seen type of solar panels. They’re those with glass coverings that are installed on rooftops. Flexible solar panels carry out the same function and provide a similar output of electricity.
How Flexible Solar Panels Differs from Rigid Panels?
This is ideal for people living remotely with no obvious electricity connection. It’s also suitable for those who want to use electric appliances on a camping trip, boat, or RV. Using flexible panels is the ideal way to generate eco-friendly energy in locations where it’s typically absent.
Rigid solar panels won’t work in the places mentioned above. Attempting might be a waste of time, money, and effort because the roof structure and space available will very likely be unsuitable for them. Flexible panels are versatile, and they can be set up and charged in a location before being transported to another location. A notable example is ETFE Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene.
Pros of Flexible Panels
Flexible panels are very lightweight, roughly 5lbs. This makes them very easy to move around. They come with a holding case and can be easily placed in a bag or car trunk. They are ideal for surfaces that can’t carry something bulky.
They are Easier and Cheaper to Set Up
Unlike some rigid solar panels that may require a professional to install, flexible panels are easier and faster to install. Since flexible panels encourage DIY installation, they’re cheaper to install. You also don’t need a professional.
Ideal for Temporary Usage
Unlike rigid panels that stay on one spot throughout their lifespan, flexible panels can be installed somewhere, charged, and then taken elsewhere.
Cons of Flexible Panels
Needs Delicate Handling
They require gentle hands because flexing the panel at an extreme angle can irrevocably damage some of the embedded solar cells.
Short Life Cycle
They are a far cry from rigid panels in duration. Rigid panels can last up to 25 years, while flexible panels don’t exceed five years.
Pros of Rigid Panels
They are more durable than flexible panels, making them more cost-efficient than flexible panels in the long run. They are also stronger.
Wind-Proof and More Resistant to Damage
The tempered glass covering acts as security for the solar cells from weather elements, particularly the wind. The solid mountings keep them intact even against very strong winds. Also, they are less likely to tear and have scratches.
Cons of Rigid Panels
More Costly to Purchase
Though they are cost-efficient in the long run, their initial purchase will take a significant amount from your pocket.
Heavy and Fixed
Rigid panels are heavier than flexible panels. For example, a 100W panel can weigh as much as 20 pounds. Also, they are fixed to one spot (most often, a roof) with mountings during installation and are therefore not portable.