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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Why You Need a Rugged Solar System

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

Going off-road means you need proper equipment that can handle any terrain. That doesn’t just go for a good set of tires and a nice bullbar to protect your bumper. It goes for all the gear, from properly secured loads to a rooftop tent. 

However, solar panels can be fragile, and if you want the benefit of solar power on your next overlanding trip, you’re going to need a rugged solar system that is up for the task.

I’ve seen plenty of solar panel systems over the years, but one stands out among the rest as the most rugged I’ve inspected – the XPLOR series from Sunflare.

The Sunflare XPLOR solar panels are built for rough terrain, and in this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about them. 

Table of Contents

Challenging Terrain Needs Tough Equipment Like a Solar System

Sunflare XPLOR solar panels

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

One of the things I appreciate about the Sunflare XPLOR solar panels is that they are not just the ideal solar system, but they will perform admirably on any off-road vehicle as well. 

Most available solar panels have silicon solar cells integrated into them. But unfortunately, these silicon solar cells are brittle and prone to cracking under the wear and tear that ‘s associated with off-roading and overlanding.

Simply put, they aren’t badass enough to withstand the rougher trips, which can lead to premature malfunctions and repairs. And that can be pretty costly. 

Standing on a Sunflare solar panel

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

The Sunflare XPLOR solar panels use CIGS solar cells instead of silicon, and they are actually quite flexible! This means they do a much better job surviving all the vibrations and punches that come with off-road adventuring and overlanding.

Solar systems need to be tough. And I’ve found my new favorite kid on the block. 

Why Flexibility is Essential for a Solar System

Sunflare product shot

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

Flexibility is so crucial for the durability of solar system because they can take a beating. 

As noted earlier, part of the reason why XPLOR solar panels are so durable is because Sunflare doesn’t use brittle silicon solar cells.

These types of cells are highly prone to microcracking, which might occur during transport or install. These small cracks also occur as a natural result of long-term wear and tear.

Microcracking is a major problems because it can lead to shorts, burns, and hotspots. They might even result in a fire. So, when you’re sourcing the right solar panels for your needs, consider the materials used to make the panels.



These panels can also be positioned in more ideal places, which is a huge advantage for collecting as many of the sun’s rays as possible. 

That small front part of your off-road camper? It can now be used as a solar panel without hassle because the Sunflare XPLOR doesn’t even have frames that can get knocked loose. Flexibility also means that you can now easily cover a much bigger area of your roof with these solar panels without the framing costs.

However, make sure to always securely install your flexible solar panels, as they will turn into kites if they come loose for whatever reason. These panels are durable, but they won’t do much good if you leave them flapping in the wind like a plastic bag.  


Luckily, the Sunflare XPLOR solar system uses double-sided adhesive to hold your panels securely in place (as shown above with my 180-watt Expedition panel).

Installation is a breeze and takes just a few minutes.

The Weight Equation of a Solar System

flexible camper solar panel kit from Sunflare

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

When you’re packing for an overlanding trip, you should know how much you can pack before you risk overloading your truck. An overloaded vehicle can lead to engine overheating and all sorts of trouble in the backcountry. 

A flexible solar system does not require heavy frameworks or any base to keep the panel rigid. Just stick the panel on whatever surface you have available and secure it tightly to avoid sending it airborne. That’s about it, you’re good to go. 

The fact that these flexible panels are so lightweight compared to rigid panels means you now have a lighter load on your engine as well. And you could also opt to bring extra gear or tools instead!

Think about it – these flexible panels are just 6-11 lbs each, depending on which panel you get. Compared to 40-50 lbs or more for a conventional panel, that’s a huge weight savings!

The Issue of Shade and Solar Panels

Sunflare solar panels on a truck in a field

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

A solar system often runs into trouble when it’s partially blocked or shaded. Most panels turn off the entire row of cells when one or more cells do not receive enough light. And the whole row will stop generating power, even if all other cells are in direct sunlight. 

This brings me to my top reason to love the Sunflare XPLOR camper solar panels. They take blocking and shading out of the equation by adding bypass diodes on every single cell of their solar panels. And that is what makes a Sunflare XPLOR even more perfect for going outdoors.

So, if you want to take a canoe on your next trip, only the cells that are actually blocked by the canoe will turn off. The bypass diodes will make sure any other cells in that row will still produce power as long as they catch the sunlight, making them truly versatile. 

The Solar System for Every Vehicle, Not Just RV’s 

Sunflare solar panels on a truck in the desert

Image Courtesy of Sunflare

The Sunflare XPLOR solar system is not just for the RV or camper van, and you can use them just about anywhere. These solar panel kits conveniently come in three different sizes, which all have a module thickness of just 1.7mm.

  • The 105W Module is 47.3” by 32.6” (1202mm by 828mm) weighing 6.5lbs (2.9kg)
  • The 126W Module is 47.3” by 38.9” (1202mm by 990mm) weighing 8lbs (3.6kg)
  • The 180W Module is 65.4” by 39.9” (1660mm by 990mm) weighing 11lbs (5kg)

Building Your Solar Power for Camping System

Having three sizes available means that there is always a kit that is a perfect fit for your vehicle. Whether you want to stick the solar panel to your roof or even your rooftop tent, there is a perfect-sized panel available.

And that’s why you need a rugged solar system!

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