Flexible vs. Bendable vs. Foldable vs. Glass Solar Panels: Differences

With the push towards sustainable energy, there has been significant development with solar panel types.

In the following guide, we look to outline a brief description of, and the main differences between:

Flexible, Semi-Flexible & Bendable Solar Panels

Foldable Solar Panels

Glass Solar Panels

 

Clicking on the above links will take you through to more in-depth reviews and buyer’s guides on each type of solar panel.

Onto the description and differences…

 

Flexible vs. Bendable vs. Foldable vs. Glass Solar Panels: What’s The Difference?

 

1. Flexible and Semi-Flexible Solar Panels

Flexible and semi-flexible solar panels are usually made of very lightweight materials like plastic.

The average flexible solar panel is 50 or 100 watt, can run on around 18 volts, and is good for charging 12 volt batteries.

They are usually able to be installed without using heavy or structural fixings – think adhesive, grommets, zip ties or velcro.

For this reason, they are also referred to as stick-on solar panels, and can usually be removed as easy as they can be installed.

They are highly transportable and transferrable to other surfaces – making them great for the home or a range of applications like camping, RV and caravan, boating and charging bike batteries.

A flexible or semi-flexible solar panel may or may not bend – read the manufacturer’s instructions.

One thing to note with flexible solar panels is that while they can’t break or crack, they are vulnerable to sharp objects and tearing.

 

2. Bendable Solar Panels

Bendable solar panels are flexible and semi-flexible solar panels that are able to be bent or curved to a certain limit.

Bendable solar panels can usually bend between 10 to 30 degrees, but can’t be completely folded.

The good thing about bendable solar panels is that they can be installed on curved or irregular surfaces.

 

3. Foldable Solar Panels

Foldable solar panels are highly portable and lightweight.

They can be made out of a polymer laminate (and are usually contained with sewn fabric or canvas) and are great for a high level of portability and transportability.

The panels themselves fold on top of one another – making it super easy to fold the panels out, or fold them up.

They are very handy for outdoor activities like hiking, camping and any remote activity where you will be moving around.

They can be attached to backpacks, trees, tents and folded out on boat decks, car trays and more.

 

4. Glass/Rigid Solar Panels

The traditional solar panel made of glass with an aluminium or steel frame.

Glass and rigid solar panels are not transportable as they usually require permanent structural fixing, and are best for home and commercial/industrial applications.

The upside to this is that glass solar panels will last many years with proper cleaning and testing, and they have much higher wattage capabilities (also making them much more expensive).

Solar panels made with tempered glass as opposed to flat plate glass are usually a better option.

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