ETFE Flexible Solar Panels

I'm getting ready to go to the Miami boatshow and want to educated myself on these newer ETFE coated flexible solar panels.  Can anyone advise me if they are any better than the older flexible?  I really don't want to mount large, heavy glass framed solar on the hardtop...would rather use flexible.  However, some have said flexible panels are a waste and deteriorate fast, don;t meet output specs.


  • mcgivor
    mcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    As with all compromises come tradeoffs, the link supplied used extensive use of "Engrish" to explain the superiority of their materials including "Grass Fiber" backing, over the PET coated panels, there may be some truth to that, who knows . My opinion is that any plastic material will deteriorate in sunlight full time to some degree, the lifetime of the sprayed on silicone technique used to make the cells flexable, means the cells inherently have a shorter life. The tradeoff  therefore is a shorter lifespan for the convenience of flexibility, the warranty, conditions of warranty and most importantly will the company be around in 10 years, would be something I'd look into.

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,499 admin
    I would suggest that, in general, flexible panels may last 5 years, and as short as 1 year if subjected to people walking on panels, flexing, etc.

    Glass can last much longer--Until you drop a wrench or somebody throws a rock--They are made from tempered glass and will go "spiderweb" instantly--And shortly there after will only be good for modern art.

    Also remember that solar electric panels do not operate very well if shaded--Even a shadow of a line across the panel, or other projection (minor shading will usually zero out the current from any partial shading--at the very least--until the shadow goes away).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset