Blue vs Black Solar Panels - Here's What The Color Difference Means
There are two common types of solar panels currently on the market – polycrystalline and monocrystalline. This article will help you understand the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of different colored solar panels.
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First, one must understand that a solar panel is made up of individual solar cells that are connected together. A solar panel is generally made up of 60 solar cells, sometimes 72 in a larger utility-scale installation.
The average person will not recognize the technical differences between the two most popular types of solar panels – the only noticeable difference is the color of the panel, which is really the color of the solar cells. But the difference between a polycrystalline solar panel and a monocrystalline solar panel is based on science surrounding their construction and engineering.
Differences Between Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline Solar Panels
The simple difference between these two types of solar panels can be found in their names: Polycrystalline solar panels are made of multiple crystals (poly- meaning multi), while Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single crystal (mono- meaning one or same). Creating a Monocrystalline solar panel involves a longer process that is at the heart of the advantages and disadvantages between the two options.
About Monocrystalline Solar Panels
The easiest way to recognize a Monocrystalline solar panel is to ask yourself if it looks more black or blue, and also if it looks smooth or sharp. If the answer is black and smooth, it’s most likely a mono.
Monocrystalline solar panels are characterized by their higher efficiency, primarily because they are made from the highest quality silicon. This higher efficiency translates into more solar energy being absorbed from sunlight, which can then be used by a home or business owner.
Monocrystalline solar panels can also boast on space efficiency. Because monocrystalline solar panels absorb higher amounts of solar energy, there is a need for less of them compared to polycrystalline solar panels.
Monocrystalline panels are longer lasting. Many manufacturers of solar panels are willing to honor a 25-year warranty on these panels. With such a life span, a home or business owner can enjoy and realize significant energy cost savings.
Low solar light conditions are a general concern for users of solar panels. But monocrystalline panels tend to perform better than polycrystalline solar panels under lower light conditions.
Despite the great benefits of this type of solar panels, there are some disadvantages that should be taken into consideration:
Because of the manufacturing process, which takes more time to grow the individual solar cell, mono solar panels were significantly higher priced in the past. While the price of monocrystalline has been reduced to compete with polycrystalline, the reality is that it is still the more expensive option of the two.
About Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Whereas monocrystalline solar panels can be identified by their black coloring, polycrystalline solar panels generally have a more blueish tint, and tend to look more scattered or fractured.
Advantages Of Polycrystalline Solar Panels
The manufacturing process in the making of these panels is simpler and less expensive. This means they are generally lower priced, and are best suited for the home or business owner looking for the lowest possible solar option.
Polycrystalline solar panels are ideal for large spaces, such as a farm or ground-mounted application where space is not limited by a roof.
On the other hand, these panels possess the following disadvantage:
Polycrystalline panels do not enjoy the same level of efficiency as their monocrystalline counterpart, thus to get the same level of power they will require more installation space.
Related Reading: How Much Money Can You Save With Solar Panels? A Simple Answer.
There is no “cookie cutter” solar panel solution that will work best for every consumer. Rather, what solar option is best for you is a function of your property (the space where solar will be installed), your budget, and your overall goals.
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