Over the 2016 Christmas period I had the wonderful surprise of being contacted by the marketing team of Lensun Solar Energy, a solar panel manufacturer based in Hong Kong with distribution depots in the U.K. and the U.S.
Lensun asked if I would test their 80w semi-flexible solar panel kit and do an honest review, so I kindly obliged.
The kit arrived within 2 days of our conversation. It was well boxed, arriving packaged within 3 strong cardboard boxes so there was little risk of it being damaged in transit.
Sadly the weather wasn't the greatest, it was the beginning of the British winter and on this occasion we actually had snow so it proved a bit challenging doing a solid review of the functionality of the panel in poor lighting conditions.
However we had one day where the sky's were clear of cloud and the sun was shining. The temperature was a little over 5˚C but I managed to do a temporary rig up of the panel, connect it to my leisure battery and run a few test with the panel angled at an optimum position to the sun to get a stronger reading.
My first impressions of the panel are that it is well manufactured. I'd spent quite some time looking at all of the various options for solar panels as I was providentially just at the point of beginning to install my electrics into our T5 conversion so the request to review couldn't have come at a better time.
I had explored using a more traditional rigid solar panel but didn't like the fact that they protrude from the roof quite a bit and are also made of a glass like material.
The semi-flexible Lensun panel is made of a rubberised PTFE material (see their website for a more technical explanation) but basically this material is super-conductive and incredibly hard wearing, much more so than more traditional solar panels. In fact these panels have historically been used for marine applications where they need to be able to be trodden on as they cover areas of the boat.
There is also a PTFE coating to the metal backing of the solar panel which means the underneath surface is less likely to scratch or be abrasive to any surface it is mounted to.
I ran a few tests with my voltmeter to check the open and charging current of the panel in the winter sun and I must say I was impressed with the readings it pulled out which were in line with the manufacturers claims. I have no doubt that when I come to test the panel again in the British summer that the readings will be within the optimum range as they were considerably high considering the poor environment I was performing this initial test in.
I was slightly frustrated in that my new 110AH gel battery was fully charged so it meant the MPPT controller kept cutting the charge down from the panel to protect the battery so a further test is needed in the summer once the kit is installed just to check on the speed of charge but I was impressed with what I saw until that point.
I put the panel under flex a few times and it certainly feels strong and rugged. There are eyelet mounting points on each corner (used in marine applications) but for my campervan installation I will resort to trimming these eyelets off and using a strong sealant like Sikaflex or similar to seal the unit to the roof surface.
Overall I was impressed with the Lensun product I was supplied. The product felt strong and I'm confident it will perform well in teh British summer.
I will be performing further reviews in the summer and in the autumn of 2017 to give further feedback on how the product is performing and also how it is weathering being exposed to the UK weather.
For a more thorough and immersive review of the Lensun semi-flexible 80w solar panel please watch the review video that follows:
If you would like to explore our undertaking a similar unbiased review for your product or business please get in contact.