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Old 01-25-2023, 09:15 AM   #1
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New Technology Solar Panel Review

The attached pdf file is my review of the new 100w CIGS solar panel.
This panel was provided to me to review by BougeRV. I do not receive any compensation from BougeRV. The information provided herein is not a scientific study. Itís simply field testing the product and analysis with my own opinion. Hope you find the review of value. Comments and questions are welcome:
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File Type: pdf 100w CIGS Solar Panel Review.pdf.pdf (2.26 MB, 121 views)
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Old 01-25-2023, 05:04 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing Jim.

I see they also offer a compact 100W version (26"x44") and that there's a $60 off coupon available on Amazon.
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Old 01-26-2023, 06:09 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing Jim.

I see they also offer a compact 100W version (26"x44") and that there's a $60 off coupon available on Amazon.
Thanks Fred,
I couldnít find the BougeRV compact CIGS on Amazon. That would probably work well as my third CIGS panel. Would you mind sharing a link to where you saw it?
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Old 01-26-2023, 08:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Thanks Fred,
I couldnít find the BougeRV compact CIGS on Amazon. That would probably work well as my third CIGS panel. Would you mind sharing a link to where you saw it?
Here you go. BougeRV 100W CIGS Thin-Film Most Flexible Solar Panel with Tape for Easy Installation (Compact Version), Model: Yuma 100
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Old 01-26-2023, 10:02 AM   #5
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Thanks Fred,
Just placed order.
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Old 01-26-2023, 01:05 PM   #6
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Thanks Jim, I'm going to need to study your results better. I have 3-100w solid mounted Renogy panels - total cost was just a bit over the cost of one of your long thin flexible panels.

And, I'm in a sunny location, Tucson, but not in the sunniest location in the continental US like you are. Same January dates. And, I'm seeing 900 to 1000 watt hours pretty much daily. So, yes, I have one more panel. But my cost for 300w of Renogy panels was $255. And they are 4 year old panels at that. 1200wh days are not unheard of either.

I have the same Victron MPPT as you and for example. Today at before 1pm I have already received 570wh. Yesterday, was 950wh and this week (Sun-Wed) I've topped 900wh 3-times.

Solar panels are great, but I'm not so convinced of your higher cost new technology being worth the extra cost. I do recognize that flexible panels cost more - 3-Renogy 100w flexible panels would cost $450 - still less than two of your panels. But my solid panels have been zero trouble, easy to screw down, never moved and been very reliable. No, I can't walk on them, though.

Let us know how they work for you in the long term.
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Old 01-26-2023, 01:21 PM   #7
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I’ll give an update in the summer.
I think for motorized owners, especially those with hard roofs, the CIGS panels are not worth the extra cost. Plus motorized usually has a lot more real estate to play with.
But for rubber roof folks who don’t want to make holes, I think it’s worth it.
Additionally, I’m very weight sensitive. Saving 50 lbs is a big plus for me.
Keep in mind, the comparison panel I used is a monocrystalline EFTM soft panel that I’ve had for a couple of years. I really don’t know if it’s putting out like it did when it was new.
Getting 700wh in a day from 2 panels in winter is new to me. Those same panels should yield close to 1,000 wh in summer. Adding a third one will solve all my power needs. This whole thing is kinda like switching to LiFePo4. If all the extra advantages aren’t important to a camper, there’s no need to switch. I wouldn’t have LiFePo4 if weight and fast charging weren’t so important to me. Same with the CIGS panels
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Old 01-26-2023, 09:46 PM   #8
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Great review on those panels, I too have the Renogy panels (4) and cost was substantially less. Before I had Sunpower, one died and the other one is my portable.
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Old 01-27-2023, 08:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Iíll give an update in the summer.
I think for motorized owners, especially those with hard roofs, the CIGS panels are not worth the extra cost. Plus motorized usually has a lot more real estate to play with.
But for rubber roof folks who donít want to make holes, I think itís worth it.
Additionally, Iím very weight sensitive. Saving 50 lbs is a big plus for me.
Keep in mind, the comparison panel I used is a monocrystalline EFTM soft panel that Iíve had for a couple of years. I really donít know if itís putting out like it did when it was new.
Getting 700wh in a day from 2 panels in winter is new to me. Those same panels should yield close to 1,000 wh in summer. Adding a third one will solve all my power needs. This whole thing is kinda like switching to LiFePo4. If all the extra advantages arenít important to a camper, thereís no need to switch. I wouldnít have LiFePo4 if weight and fast charging werenít so important to me. Same with the CIGS panels
Good advice.
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Old 01-31-2023, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
The attached pdf file is my review of the new 100w CIGS solar panel.
This panel was provided to me to review by BougeRV. I do not receive any compensation from BougeRV. The information provided herein is not a scientific study. Itís simply field testing the product and analysis with my own opinion. Hope you find the review of value. Comments and questions are welcome:
Jim, how do you think these panels would hold up to road debris mounted to the front of a Micro Minnie? Based on your review and reading up on CIGS panels, they appear to be fairly durable. I've been thinking about adding three of the compact panels positioned vertically across the front of our MM, the top edge of the panels would be located just below the clearance lights.

Thanks
Fred
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Old 02-01-2023, 04:45 AM   #11
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Fred,
The CIGS panels are pretty durable, but not indestructible. I’d say they’re more resistant to damage than any other kind of panel.Had my first one on the deck of my home, and it easily survived, unaffected by raccoons and my dogs walking all over it . I walked on it as well, just to be sure. If mounted on the front cap up high, it’s not likely to catch many rocks. More likely to get insects, which would do any harm, possible a bird strike. However, I don’t know how you would affix one to the front cap. Mine have 3M double sided tape as the primary hold down. I think Bouge now makes them worth optional rivet holes around the edges, so it might be possible to mount them on studs installed on the cap. Don’t know I’d want to do that for fear of allowing water to intrude around the studs, but that should work. Then, there’s the issue of routing the MC4 leads to the gland in a way that can sustain a constant 65mph wind..

I now have three CIGS panels. Two long ones and one compact panel, which is waiting for us when we get back home next month. There enough real estate on the roof to tape down the long ones front to back, and the compact one between front vent hood and A/C cowling. There’s also enough room between cowling and rear vent hood to mount a fourth panel. So, if you already have hard panels up top, there should be room to mount two compact CIGS up top. For those who want more juice and don’t have hard panels mounted, I’d recommend going with a couple of 200w CIGS instead of the 100w panels I have.
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Old 02-01-2023, 07:34 AM   #12
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Thanks for your input Jim!

I would use the tape version of the panels. The early MMs, like mine, have a flat front cap, not the molded front cap of the newer MMs. So, attachment and water intrusion wouldn't be a problem.

As for running the wires, I would mount the panels so that the connectors are at the top. This would keep my wire runs as short as possible and if needed, I would figure out some way to protect them from damage. I use a combiner box located on top of the roof near the front right corner. The early MMs didn't come with a solar option/gland. From the combiner box I use electrical PVC conduit and fittings to run 6 AWG wires down the outside of the MM, along the front awning support and then underneath the MM and up into the pass-through to the solar controller.

Since I already have 4 hard panels on the roof and I don't want to mess with ground deployed panels, I figured my only other option would be to mount additional panels on the curved front cap. The main reason I'm considering this option now, is that these panels appear to be better with indirect sunlight and being on the front cap, there is a good chance they would see indirect sunlight more times than direct sunlight.

Fred
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Old 02-01-2023, 08:30 AM   #13
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They are definitely better with indirect sunlight or partial shade, even if wired in series. My CIGS start producing about 1/2 hour earlier in the day and later in the day than mono.
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Old 03-20-2023, 08:19 PM   #14
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Jim,

I'm now the owner of three 100W CIGS panels, the adhesive long ones, and I'm quite satisfied with them so far.

Today we had a day of full sun, so around 11:30 this morning I laid all three of them out side-by-side in the yard and tested each one individually. Each one output a consistent 3.4 amps (85 watts) lying flat on the ground. I then propped one up for better exposure and it output a maximum of 4.5 amps (112.5 watts). I also shaded about a quarter of one of the panels when it was lying on the ground and it still registered 2.9 amps (72.5 watts). I thought those were very good numbers seeing that it is only March 20.

After some additional planning and measuring, I found, I would be able to mount up to five of these long 100W CIGS panels vertically across the front cap of our Micro Minnie. My thinking is to start with three panels and if everything works the way I think it will, I'll add two more later this year. This would give us nine panels and a potential of 900 watts of solar.

Now, just waiting for warmer weather to start the project.

Fred
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Old 03-21-2023, 07:20 AM   #15
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Hi Fred,
Congrats. I’m not a tuber, so I don’t get a commission.

I put the long panels on each side of the A/C cowl as far out as possible so their mc4s can reach the gland, and very little shading from the cowl. Third panel is a short format one in front of the shower skylight, connected in series to the other two via mc4 10ft extension cable. There is space for a 4th short panel which can go right next to the existing short panel. Right now they’re just taped down with blue painters tape. Won’t tape them permanent until I decide whether to get a 4th panel.

I haven’t decided whether to spring for a 4th panel. Not sure I’ll need it. For unlimited dry camping, I just need to produce 75ah/day in order to feed the beast (12v fridge), and have some left over for furnace and lights. We turn off the inverter when boondocking. I’ll still be able to connect my soft portable to the sidewall port. We’ll see what happens on a summer trip in June. But if I do get a 4th, I would wire it serial to the existing 4th, and the go SS/PP, so as to avoid exceeding the max input of my 100/30 Victron mppt. These panels have a very high Voc, which I guess is one of the reasons they are so efficient.

Cheers.
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Old 04-24-2023, 04:54 PM   #16
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Jim, no concerns with heat damage to the rubber roof under the panels? I know I've read of damage to fiberglass roofs from flex panels. Also, that's a lot of VHB. I'd think ahead about a plan to remove them in case of failure.
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Old 04-24-2023, 05:32 PM   #17
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Manufacturer claims practically no heat buildup under CIGS panels. So, on direction from BougeRV, I’m mounting directly to rooftop via the provided double sided tape. No issues yet. I haven’t thought about removal. My thinking is, in case of failure, just mount on top of older mount. Me crazy? Right?
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Old 04-24-2023, 07:14 PM   #18
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It's probably fine, and leaving them in place if they fail might be the only option, short of a large patch. They certainly have some positive traits.
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Old 05-30-2023, 07:04 AM   #19
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And the experiment beginsÖ

I added 500 watts of BougeRV CIGS adhesive panels to the front cap of our Micro Minnie. These combined with the 400 watts of hard panels on the roof give us a theoretical 900 watts of solar, more on this later. All panels are wired in parallel and run to an AM Solar combiner box on the roof and then to our SC-2030 PWM solar controller (rated for a maximum output of 31 amps) in the pass-through.

Sunday, 5/28/23, I ran my first test with this new array to get a baseline. I started by draining my 200AH of Battle Born LiFePo4 batteries to 19% or 38AH. I then cut off all loads to the batteries accept for parasitic loads which amount to 0.4 amps.

I started this test at 8:00 AM and the batteries were at 100% at 5:00 PM. Sunday was mostly sunny with some clouds and started off in the high 50Ēs and ended in the high 70Ēs. The CIGS panels on the front cap were facing west so they didnít see direct sun until the afternoon. Attached is a PDF with the logged data.

Data Summary:
Cumulative Amp Hours = 168A / 9 hours
Cumulative Watt Hours = 2,257W / 9 hours
Peak Charging Amps = 32.64A (higher than the controllerís rated maximum output of 31 amps)
Average Charging Amps = 18.67A / hour
Average Charging Watts = 250.78W / hour

In the near future, I will be adding a second SC-2030 controller for just the CIGS panels since they operate at a much higher voltage (25V) than the hard panels (17.7V to 19.25V). Due to this voltage difference, in actuality I only have the equivalent of 742 watts of solar, not 900 watts. By separating the CIGS panels from the hard panels and each having their own controller I will gain 145.5 watts of solar, giving me an actual total of 887.5 watts of solar. Theoretically, with separate controllers, I could see a peak charge rate of 41 amps under ideal conditions.

More testing once Iíve added the second controller.

Fred
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Old 05-30-2023, 07:28 AM   #20
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Thats 400w too many amps for a 30amp controller.. and with a PWM controller you are wasting available power. MPPT controllers handle the voltage that is higher than your battery voltage by delivering more current. PWM controllers discard excess voltage from your panels that exceeds the battery voltage. Plus at over 30-amps wiring size is a real issue with the standard 10ga wiring Winnebago uses to pre-wire for solar.

You’ll get much better results running series/parallel, to increase the voltage, into a MPPT controller such as a Victron 100/50. And it’s safer, too. Two 100/30 MPPT controllers would be even better if you want to separate the two panel types and run parallel only.
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