Photovoltaic (PV) panels come in three categories: rigid, portable, and flexible.
Rigid solar panels are the traditional panels mounted on rooftops around the world. Portable models are foldable and compact, making them great for on-the-go charging.
Flexible panels strike a balance between rigid and portable. They’re lightweight and mobile so you can mount them onto curved and irregular surfaces.
This article explains what you can run with a 100W flexible solar panel. In addition, you can explore the costs, energy output, and best use cases for flexible PV panels to determine if this is a valuable addition to your renewable energy setup.
What Can a 100W Flexible Solar Panel Run?
A 100W flexible solar panel can run small devices and appliances, such as:
- Smartphones, laptops, tablets
- LED lights
- Exhaust fans
- Water pumps
In optimal conditions, a 100W panel can produce around 400 to 500 watt-hours (Wh) of energy daily. In an RV camping situation, you could charge a few smartphones (around 10 Wh each), keep a 10W LED light illuminated most of the evening, or run a 40W exhaust fan for a few hours.
The ability to run larger appliances depends on your portable power station or other balance of system. A more extensive photovoltaic array allows you to recharge your batteries faster, but the smaller capacity setups enable more portability and solutions for tiny homes and compact spaces.
If you want to run some devices on a 100W flexible panel, you’ll need to pair it with a small portable power station, such as the EcoFlow RIVER 2. Power stations incorporate the battery, inverter, and other balance of system components into one easy-to-use package.
All you need to add is a solar panel!
Is a 100W Flexible Solar Panel Enough for Going Off-Grid?
A 100W flexible solar panel will provide enough power for stripped-down off-grid adventures, like day trips and overnight camping. If you plan on long-term camping or off-grid living, you’ll need more PV panels to keep up with your energy usage.
A 100W panel can keep up with daily phone charging, LED lighting, and other basics. However, suppose you’re using larger appliances or have a family of more than two or three people. In that case, you’d be better off with PV panels with higher rated power, like a 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel.
Your specific location and time of year will play a role in whether or not a 100W flexible panel is enough for your needs. If your area receives insufficient peak sun hours, a 100W panel might be unable to keep up with even basic electricity consumption.
That said, by combining 100W flexible panels with other higher-wattage rigid or portable solar panels, you can optimize your off-grid setup. Flexible PV panels can maximise any available space that receives sunlight on irregular surfaces and curved roofs, like turrets, domes, or arced RV rooftops.
How Much Does a 100W Flexible Solar Panel Cost?
A 100W flexible panel can range from $150 to $250. The price will depend on many factors, including the brand, quality, and specific features. Higher-priced panels may include better warranties, superior construction, and higher efficiency.
Constructing a solar array using only flexible solar panels will rarely be your best option. You can customise a PV panel setup that works best for your use case by combining flexible solar panels with higher-wattage rigid and portable PV panels.
When purchasing a solar panel array, choose the highest-quality photovoltaic panels your budget will allow. Quality PV panels can operate for 25 or more years. Purchasing panels that will stand the test of time is essential to maximizing your return on investment.
What’s the Energy Output of a 100W Flexible Solar Panel?
The maximum energy output of a 100W flexible solar panel is 100 watts of electricity per hour in optimal conditions.
The actual electrical output should be around 400 to 500 Wh of energy per day, assuming you receive 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight.
Output will vary depending on environmental conditions, the amount of peak sunlight, and the quality of the panel.
Assuming an average of 450Wh per day, the estimated yearly energy output of a 100W flexible solar panel is around 164 kWh annually.
A 100W flexible solar panel that outputs approximately 164 kWh annually at an average electricity rate of $0.15/kWh equates to around $25 worth of energy produced yearly with a single panel.
How to Use Flexible Solar Panels to Maximize Energy Production
People are constantly finding new applications for flexible solar panels because they allow you to turn any surface into a power source. Ultra-thin PV cells convert sunlight into electricity, maximising your energy production in situations where space is limited.
Flexible solar panels help you fill in the gaps left by rigid or portable PV panels, maximising the exterior surface area of your RV, home, or boat.
For example, many RVs and vans have curves along the front of the roof. A small RV might be able to fit two 400W rigid solar panels on the flat portion of its roof. Adding a 100W flexible solar panel to a curved surface could increase the same RV’s electricity generation by over 12%.
Flexible solar panels pair well with all-in-one solutions like the EcoFlow Power Kits. Power Kits include solar batteries, inverter, charge controller, and all the other balance of system components you need to power your off-grid electricity solution.
All you need to add is solar panels.
Many off-grid homes and RVs that use fixed panel installations and Power Kits will have irregular surfaces. Flexible solar panels can help you get the most out of your system by maximising the surface area of your solar array.
Flexible solar panels offer a unique form factor for your solar array. You can use them with traditional panels to maximise your energy production.
If you’re limited on surface area or incorporating solar energy into your RV, home, or boat, check out EcoFlow.
Our innovative lineup of renewable energy solutions includes flexible solar panels, solar generators, and anything else you might need to stay powered sustainably.