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Thin Film Flexible solar PV is one of those great green technologies that many people may have a passing familiarity with but probably don’t know the full extent of it’s capabilities. Thin film solar has been around for many decades, most commonly in calculators, wrist watches – smaller applications, that we recognize but don’t give much thought to. Thin film solar today has progressed much beyond these little quasi-solar powered trinkets and toys.
When most people think of solar panels they are most inclined to picture the traditional hard panel – rigid, not particularly attractive, unwieldy, obtrusive… the list of modest excuses and or complaints sort of rolls from there.
In the solar PV industry there is no one technology that can fit every need – while hard panels are by far the most commonly installed solar PV they are far from the only option.
Thin Film Flexible panels fill a good niche in the solar market – their flexibility makes them near indestructible (you can walk on them, you can drop rocks on them, tree branches, storm debris, etc…), they can also conform and fit to different surfaces. At less than a quarter inch thick, they have an incredibly low profile, easily blending into their built environment.
The Uni-Solar thin film panel has a Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance, meaning that they are approved for up to 150 mile and hour winds with no added engineering – making them ideal for hurricane prone regions.
From the above, at first glance thin film solar may appear to be a magic bullet for solar PV integration, but the super groovy technology comes with trade-offs.
Not ideal for all roofs – must have proper substrate – metal roofs are awesome, concrete is excellent too, but should typically be pre-treated with a secondary surface coat like a ceramic roof paint, same with asphalt roofs, etc.
Thin film panels are typically less efficient than traditional hard solar panels, not necessarily a big deal, but that does mean they need more room.