Flexible solar panels get a bad rap in youtube reviews for a number of reasons. People had them fail, people didn’t like the limited warranty, and they didn’t like how it stuck to the roof with adhesive. Let us explore these experiences.
First I should state that I am considering getting a flexible Merlin Solar Panel like the one you see. The reason is that I need a 24 volt compatibility which I discussed before. This will allow me to charge faster and with the same superior overcast/low lighting solar power generation that I experienced with my other Merlin panel.
I had to do research to see if these panels were a mistake to buy or not. What I found is that it depends. There isn’t a clear answer if they are reliable or not, and they are so rarely used that not many people are sharing their experiences online about them.
Therefore there is another way of looking if these are worth buying. Is the power that I can can produce from them going to save me the cost of purchasing them? I think that for small installations the answer is yes, buying them will save money that you don’t have to pay for power.
One of the other things that is currently happening with Solar power is that after 5-10 years people are removing their panels and putting up newer ones. The gain in efficiency makes it worthwhile to update the panels. Which means that the vaunted 25 year warranty isn’t an issue if you replace them 5-10 years in with more efficient panels.
I don’t have much choice. Foldable panels are low in wattage, unless you want to pay a ridiculous amount of money for higher voltages. Even those are huge and it isn’t what I want. I want something efficient, small and that means that the flexible or semi-flexible if you want to be technical panels are the right choice for me.
The Merlin’s panel I am looking at is a 230W semi-flexible panel. It might cost $650 which is more expensive than a traditional glass panel, but also lighter weight, mobile and for me something that I can put out a window. I can’t hang a metal solar panel out of a window for obvious safety reasons. That money I expect to recoup in saved electricity and helping the environment/being prepared. To me, these are worth the investment.