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During a recent search I discovered the existence of flexible solar panels. Besides the obvious differences of low weight and flexibility what are the high level technical differences between flexible and rigid solar panels? What is the typical Lux VS Current curves for such solar panels?

Flexible Solar Panel

The available technical specification for the above solar panel are listed below

Technical Specifications:

  • Power Output: ~6V @ 1W (~160 mA)
  • Output Type: DC Voltage
  • Dimensions: 100mm / 3.94" x 198.43mm / 7.81" x 0.77mm / 0.03"
  • Operating temp range: +32 to +158°F (0 to +70°C)
  • Weight: 27.93g

References:

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any of these products.

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    $\begingroup$ If you're not endorsing those products, and given that they don't add anything to the question, why are the links there? Do you have any connection to any of those websites? If you want to post examples, then please do give us pictures and technical specifications of what you are talking about: please do edit those into the question itself. $\endgroup$ – 410 gone Feb 14 '15 at 7:44
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The main high-level technical difference is that flexible panels are pretty much useless.

They're an absolutely tiny part of the market. A novelty. A toy.

To understand why, have a think about what a solar panel does.

It converts sunlight to electricity. To do that, in needs to capture sunlight. And to do that, it needs to be facing the sun. So, careful calculations are done to select the correct angle and alignment when designing PV plants.

Flexibility (beyond the minimum needed to avoid damage under high wind loading) is a useless attribute here. Once you've aligned your PV, the last thing you want it to do is to go flapping off in different directions.

And although PV is cheap (pretty much the cheapest power there is now, in the tropics and sub-tropics, once you've accounted for a sensible carbon price), it's not so cheap that you can afford to waste 80% of the potential generation because it's not facing the sun at the right times.

To make things worse, the longevity of PV depends on the encapsulation staying complete. If there are breaks in it, then water vapour and other chemicals get in, and the performance degrades quickly. Too much flexing will lead to breaks in the encapsulation.

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