Has anyone tried these solar panels you put on your hood 24/7?

e9999

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had a quick look. The concept is good and makes sense if you don't mind the esthetics. I'm doubtful of claims of 23+% efficiency. The cost is high for a 90W system.
 

spressomon

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If it is truly 23% efficiency they are at or near the very top of the top for efficiency rated PVs. But, I seriously doubt they are getting anything beyond upper teens real world (Google is your friend if you really want to know how efficiency ratings are determined...save to say nothing real world involved).

Generally, Lensun is a better brand of flexible PV. Having said that, I have seen owners in the RV world, complain about them dying within a few years...just like most of the flexible PVs including my own personal experience with same. Flexible panels are notorious for giving up the ghost prematurely...

Merlin seems to be the exception but as the saying goes: "They ain't cheap, because they ain't cheap". Although I don't use it regularly and its not mounted to the hood of my LC, my 170w Merlin folding/portable panel has been great when I've needed it...
 

FrazzledHunter

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If it is truly 23% efficiency they are at or near the very top of the top for efficiency rated PVs. But, I seriously doubt they are getting anything beyond upper teens real world (Google is your friend if you really want to know how efficiency ratings are determined...save to say nothing real world involved).

Generally, Lensun is a better brand of flexible PV. Having said that, I have seen owners in the RV world, complain about them dying within a few years...just like most of the flexible PVs including my own personal experience with same. Flexible panels are notorious for giving up the ghost prematurely...

Merlin seems to be the exception but as the saying goes: "They ain't cheap, because they ain't cheap". Although I don't use it regularly and its not mounted to the hood of my LC, my 170w Merlin folding/portable panel has been great when I've needed it...
Not exactly on topic but I just wanted to say I have a Merlin XP-170 set and ACTUALLY GET 170W from them. Oh it has to be a sunny day without haze but, still, Merlin is the only one that actually delivers what they advertise. As to their efficiency, I have no clue.
 

spressomon

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^ same experience with my Merlin panel. And off-angle efficiency seems very high too. IIRC the spec % efficiency is around 17-18%.

Typically the best my glass mono panel's output have maxed at about 75% of rating for current (nominal 12v panels ranging from 100w to 210w rated from Rich Solar, Newpowa and another pair of supposed high efficiency panels I purchased years ago from AM Solar).
 
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I have a Lensun 100w on my GX. I’m disappointed in the output. But I am not a dissatisfied customer.
I only get 30-45ish watts in direct sunlight. In comparison, my rockpals 100w gets around 60w in the same position using the same cables.
I have been using them since Oct 21. So there may be improvement in the summer.
The build quality is good, and the panel matches the body lines in the hood. It does its job in topping off my battery, so overall I’m content.

Attached are the readings I sent Lensun, and their response.

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BBB3362D-45F4-45FB-9946-7E286B1DA51B.jpeg


B2C22490-1D43-4260-893E-1B2D917655A4.jpeg


7F2055EE-6395-4186-8336-6252A953BFB9.jpeg


EA60AC33-C30F-4F3E-8330-156E6B3AF084.jpeg
 

e9999

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one thing we need to remember is that the nominal power is normally calculated for a panel artificially maintained at 25C. In reality, however, in all but really rare circumstances, the panel will heat up and the "power produced" is less at the same irradiance. This is quantified by the power temperature coefficient. This is a significant effect, not a minor one. But the problem here is that if you have a panel that is affixed to a surface otherwise exposed to the sun, it will heat up much more than in "standard" installs where the installer should try to maintain an air gap in the back to improve cooling. In addition, if the panel is on a hood which is also heated from underneath, things don't look good from a temperature perspective, and it would not be surprising to see much less production than the nominal values would suggest. That is a basic issue with hood-mounted panels IMO.
 
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Merlin’s technology is different than most. Just Google their site and read up. The interconnects (“busbar”) form factor and their resistance to shattering without losing whole sections of PV is pretty amazing. That’s what you’re paying for. A characteristic that is critical in most areas we all like to venture into. Oh, and their production is all hand made end-to-end. That’s how they get to the specs they promise and the quality.

They’re one of our customers and are genuinely fantastic folks that are putting out a stellar product.
 

LandLocked93

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Just a mention..."The Story Till Now" channel on YT is running one of these on the hood of a Rubicon.
He did a review, tho I didn't catch it. He says it's worth the price and effort.
 
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I have the Trailpower Hoodie for my GX470. I do not know the specific manufacturer of the panel, but it is a 120 watt flexible design. The most wattage I have ever seen was in the mid 70s. It will easily get into the 50s though with good sun. The Hoodie system includes a charge controller as well. There are some pros and cons to systems like this:

Pros:
Convenience - you never have to set it up; it is always connected and ready

Cons:
Expensive compared to a rigid or folding panel
Rarely angled perfectly; with a separate panel you can angle it throughout the day for max sun exposure
Limits parking in the shade so vehicle gets hotter
In high temps you may have to crack your hood to get airflow or the charge controller will shut down (mine shuts down power to the battery above 65F, but when it is 95-115 degrees out and you have been driving around for a while, then park in the sun, the engine bay is HOT)

I won't get rid of it because it works. But it is very expensive for the convenience. A rigid or folding panel and charge controller costs significantly less and has a more favorable pro/con list.
 
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snowtaco

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The Len solar panels looks like copies of the Cascadia 4x4 panel, or maybe Cascadia is just rebadging them, but either way.... I have a Cascadia 4x4 on my Taco, and I've loved it. Keeps the 2nd battery topped up and I've never had to think about it. I'll probably check the system and efficiency this fall and then ignore it for another 6 months. When I go hunting I may park the truck for a few minutes, hours or days, and for those shorter stops it's really nice to not need to setup anything.
 
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Just put the Lensun 100w semi flexible on my alum roof skin with aplenty of air gap, gotta have it IMO, after feeling how hot the skin got on the underside i would never install one on a hood and without an air gap, fiberglass is a diff story but the bottom of the panel gets hhoott. With 2 batts it runs the 45qt engel without concern for starting vehicle periodically.
 

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