These are old production. UniSolar was a great company and the owner was the inventor of the nickel metal hydride battery, was the manufacturer of the EV-1, gm automobile cells. The company is out of business.
Still available, plus there are imports that are the same configuration. I would shop for panels with mc-4 connectors, its not a deal breaker. There are many sites that have UniSolar for sale.
Any suggestions for alternatives? It's going to be a metal roof at the right angle for our location. We just don't want the solar panels to be clunky additions to the top, so we hope to incorporate them from the start.
You likely dont need a warranty if sourcing high quality pv modules. If it works when you get it, it will likely be trouble free well beyond any warranty and longer than most companies will be around to honor it.
UniSolar panels are high quality for the type. These modules will not last as long as glass covered poly or mono-crystaline types nor will they last as long as most steel roofs (not easy to remove!) and have half the power per square foot.
Type 'amorphous self adhesive solar panels' or 'amorphous stick on solar', into your search engine.
Lightway or liteway used to make a decent copy of a uni and one company was sinoli or sonopoly something.
You likely wont need worry about successful warrany replacement with most way out imports either. I would source the UniSolar over the high priced questionable makers version, generally. We have installed a few sites with them and i have 6 of the 136w in storage. They are made of tough stuff.
One of the things I've read (but I don't know how up to date it is) is that these sticker panels have better efficiency than the hard panels when it is cloudy or if the light is coming from a slight angle. But the hard panels have more efficiency when the sun is directly shining on them. Is this still accurate?
What about temperature ranges? I've seen (again, I don't know how up to date it is) that solar panels have an ideal temperature range that they work in and if they get too hot, the efficiency goes down tremendously. But these sticker ones have a much larger temperature range that they work in. Did I understand this right?
I feel like I'm swimming in too much information - most of it out of date.
The information you have is within the lines. Amorphous silicon pv cells exibit less voltage drop at high operating temps. They absorb more ambient light (surface texture with uni, seemingly) and have slightly different absorbtion/conversion characteristics as far as i remember.
Time to brush up On that part!
Amprphous pv is available with glass or polymer covers. Calculators, solar landscape lights, small panels from inexpensive kits, etc have this thin film technology.
Less high temperature caused, derating of the module and higher pv operating voltage in general, was especially helpful when pv modules could not be operated much higher than battery voltage, usually 12v nominal and all wired in parallel.
Shunt controllers and early pwm had low voltage acceptance and wiring techniques or materials were sometimes lacking, on top of astronomically high price per watt, making every volt/watt count was the name of the game. Still is today, but power electronics...and inexpensive watts.
Monocrystalline cells maintain higher voltages/wattages vs high temp than poly, but its not a deal breaker there either. Possibly the panel will be expected to operate at high temps full time....then a critical detail could evolve.
Now a days, 3 to 6 or more of these 18 volt-ish panels cold be placed in series, 75v up to 600v with readily available controls. Voltage is available.
For practical purposes, the 'stick on' module does keep its volts/power up at high temps, is rugged and it does look nice when installed.