Tech review: Flexible solar panel is thin, light and tough and it is easy to mount | Features |

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The 100-watt solar panel from BougeRV. Magnetic Spot Light

Tech review: Flexible solar panel is thin, light and tough and it is easy to mount | Features |

The 100-watt solar panel from BougeRV.

I get asked to review a lot of solar generator equipment.

Usually, a company will send a portable power station and a solar panel or two for testing and I end up writing more about the power station than the solar panels.

Today I’m reviewing a 100-watt solar panel from BougeRV, which is a company that specializes in products for mobile solar energy generation and storage.

The company sells solar panels, portable refrigerators and power stations that are popular with campers, RV enthusiasts and people trying to live a more sustainable life.

BougeRV has several types of solar panels for various uses, and they sent a CIGS panel, which is the latest in solar technology. CIGS stands for copper indium gallium selenide, which is what help make up the solar collection cells.

CIGS panels are thin and flexible, very light weight and not easily damaged.

The BougeRV Yuma 100 watt CIGS Thin Film flexible solar panel with tape ($279.99, got my attention immediately because it was so light and flexible. It comes in a box rolled up, about the size of a yoga mat.

The panel measures 26 inches by 44 inches and it weighs just 4.3 pounds, and it is IP68 waterproof.

BougeRV sells a few versions of the Yuma panel. There are also 200W versions available.

There are two sizes for the 100W panels, I reviewed the compact model, but there is also a long version that measures 13.7 inches by 85.6 inches.

The two sizes produce an equal amount of power; they are just different in their dimensions. Pick the one that fits your need.

Also, the panels can be purchased with or without a double-stick adhesive on the back so you can mount it on a camper’s roof or the side of a building. The adhesive is very strong and can withstand the wind as you drive down the road. The panel with the adhesive pre-installed costs $10 more. Note that the adhesive is not reusable or easily removable, so only buy the panels with adhesive if you know where you want to mount it permanently; otherwise, the panels without adhesive have gromets for mounting.

BougeRV CIGS panels have a 12-year replacement warranty (if you buy from the company’s website) and a 25-year performance warranty.

Solar panels are pretty simple once they are in place. You just connect them to whatever they will be powering via MC4 cables.

I have a few smaller solar panels with built-in USB ports that can charge a phone directly from the panels, but the Yuma only has MC4 outputs, which need to be plugged into a portable power station to charge up the battery. MC4 plugs are widely used for solar panels and there are cables you can buy to connect two or more panels to increase the solar power collected.

To test the Yuma 100, I used a Dabbsson portable power station out in my yard on a very sunny afternoon.

As I unpacked the panel, which comes rolled up for easier shipping, I found it was not very easy to get it to lay perfectly flat. My panel had the adhesive on the back, but I was not wanting to mount it anywhere just yet, so I just unrolled it and faced it toward the sun.

The panel had been curled up in the box, so it was not easy to get it stretched out. If it had gromets, I could hang it from a fence or other stationary object for easier aiming.

In theory, a 100W solar panel will produce 100W of power per hour, but that’s under optimal conditions, which you’ll never be able to achieve.

I did my first testing at about 4p.m. in late January and the 100-watt panel showed it was providing about 65 watts of power to my power station, according to the power station’s control panel. You’ll probably see charge wattage anywhere between 10 watts on a cloudy day up to over 90 watts on a really sunny summer day.

As with any solar panel, the amount of power generated will depend on the angle of the panel in relation to the sun. Most power stations will display the amount of power being generated by connected panels, so you can adjust the panel to get the best results.

Of course, the sun will move across the sky throughout the day, and to get maximum power generation, you’ll need to periodically adjust the angle of the panel. Just point them the best you can toward the sun and don’t fret over fluctuations in the wattage generated. Clouds will drift by and lower the output.

The CIGS panels with the adhesive is really designed to be mounted in one spot, which might be the roof of a van or trailer, or perhaps the on the roof of your home or a shed. When you permanently mount a panel, you should try to position it where it will get the most sun exposure.

The rate of charge depends on the number of panels in use and their exposure to the sun. One 100W panel will take a long time (more than a day) to charge up a large power station. Combining several panels can speed things up considerably.

The pre-installed adhesive is really easy to install without tools. If you want to mount a panel permanently and the flexible and slim form-factor is appealing, the BougeRV 1ooW CIGS Solar Panel is fantastic.

ISSN 2993-8384 (Online) ISSN 1041-293X (Print)

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Tech review: Flexible solar panel is thin, light and tough and it is easy to mount | Features |

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