We recommend installing AllSpark Flexible solar panels on a sheet of polycarbonate corflute (Twinwall) to provide a physical air gap separation between the hot surface of your vehicle and the cells. It provides rigidity to the panel and significantly improves the output performance.
Flexible solar panels are designed to be flexible to allow for the panel to conform to a curved surface or fixed in a flat position, but are not designed to be used as portable panels and are not suitable for flexing continuously over and over. This applies to all type of flexible panels on the market. Cells can be damaged if allowed to continuously flex or not supported across the full surface area of the panel during use.
Close care must be taken when handling the panel to ensure the cells are not cracked during the installation process. Do not bend passed 20 degrees and do not point load the cells - this can happen if you try to hold the whole panel weight horizontally with your finger tips under the panel. Support the full panel until fixed onto the rigid surface you are mounting on.
They do need to be permanently fixed onto a rigid surface (like polycarbonate corflute) when installed. We also recommended using 3M Very High Bond (VHB) 4991 tape to fix the panel to the polycarbonate and the poly carbonate to the vehicle.
Contact us if you have any questions about installation methods.
FAILURE TO INSTALL CORRECTLY WILL VOID THE WARRANTY
SunPower cells have a maximum 45V system voltage, the AllSpark 120w flexible solar panels run at 21V. The 120w flexible panels running at 21V can be connected in series in pairs, then those pairs connected in parallel with another pair or 4 panels in total.
You can connect up to three panels in parallel (positive to positive, negative to negative, which adds together the amps, but voltage stays the same), or two in series, (positive to negative, which adds together the voltage, but amps stay same) which you can then connect in parallel to another two panels which are connected in series.
Every panel needs a 10amp inline solar fuse installed before it connects to another panel regardless of parallel or series connection.
The choice is more often than not decided for you if you already have an existing solar controller or DCDC charger being used and is specifically determined by it's maximum open circuit voltage.
If you don't and are purchasing new, then series connection requires a solar controller that can handle at least 45V open circuit. Series connection is optimal for low light/overcast conditions and allows you to run smaller cables from the panels to the controller.
Contrary to popular belief, flexible panels are not designed to be curved in circles and used as wobble boards, and not designed for portable use. Portable panels are exposed to surfaces that can rub on the ETFE laminate during storage/transport, due to large surface area they are more susceptible to being blown over in the wind and damaged.
Incorrect handling in a portable nature can lead to damaged cells and voiding of warranty.
Flexible panels are designed to be flexible for the purposes of conforming to the mounting surface and then be fixed in position, not flexed repeatedly.
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