Key takeaways


here’s a wide selection of solar panels on the market, but it still might take a bit of effort to find an option that meets your requirements. Make sure you don’t jump on the first product you come across - careful research is crucial for making an informed decision.

You can start off by learning the difference between blue and black solar panels; it will surely help you better understand what to look for.

Types of solar panels

If solar panels are common in your area, you may have noticed that they don’t all look the same. The first thing that catches the eye is the color: some panels are black, and some are blue. One might think that the color choice is due to the manufacturer’s aesthetic preferences. In fact, it has nothing to do with the aesthetics - the tint of bp solar panels is due to their manufacturing technology. So let us take a closer look at blue and black solar panels to determine which ones are better.

Black solar panels: what they are and how they’re made

Black solar panels
Black solar panels

All solar panels turn the energy from the sun into electricity using the photovoltaic effect. The most common material used for solar panel manufacturing is silicon, currently making for around 90% of the global market.

Silicon in the form of silicon dioxide can be found in rocks, clays, and soils but is most commonly extracted from sand. The sand mixed with carbon is put into an electric arc furnace at around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, where it melts into a shimmery liquid.

Black solar cells are manufactured from monocrystalline silicon made from one large silicon crystal. The crystal is grown in a controlled environment from a tiny crystal seed - this process is called the Czochralski technique. As a result, silicon takes the form of a large single-crystal cylindrical column called the ingot.

High-purity semiconductor-grade ingots are then sliced into wafers with a wire saw. Since the ingot has a cylinder shape, individual silicon wafers have rounded edges. As for the color, solar panels made of monocrystalline silicon usually appear black to the eye because of how the light interacts with the refined homogeneous silicon.

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Pros of monocrystalline solar

Monocrystalline panels, or black panels, have always been considered a premium product due to their utmost efficiency and pleasing aesthetics.

Their core benefit is undoubtedly a high conversion rate – the fundamental property of solar panels. This indicator shows how much sunlight they collect is transformed into usable electricity. The efficiency rating of most residential black solar panels ranges between 17% and 22%. However, as solar technologies keep on changing and increasing in complexity, their performance keeps improving every year. For example, mono-Si solar cells based on a new PERC technology have already reached 24.5% efficiency and hold great potential for the future.

Besides, the higher conversion rate means higher space efficiency, as you will need fewer modules to produce the amount of electricity you need.

Black solar panels also outmatch their peers when it comes to heat tolerance. The efficiency of solar modules usually starts decreasing when the ambient temperature rises above 25°C (77°F), and the temperature coefficient shows how much efficiency will be lost in heat. The temperature coefficient of monocrystalline solar cells typically ranges from -0.30 to -0.40% /°C, meaning their efficiency decreases by 0.3%-0.4% for every degree above 25°C, which is the best result among all PV options available.

Cons of monocrystalline solar

As one might expect, the premium features of monocrystalline panels come at a premium price. They typically cost $1 to $1.50 per watt; therefore, a residential 6kW solar system would cost between $6,000 and $9,000. However, the excellent operating performance of black solar panels justifies the price tag.

Blue panels: features and manufacturing process

Blue panels on the roof
Blue solar panels

The second solar panel type can easily be identified by its dark blue color. These panels are made from polycrystalline silicon.

As mentioned above, black monocrystalline solar cells are made of one large silicon crystal. Polycrystalline panels, on the contrary, are made of multiple crystals joined together by melting and subsequent solidifying in a rectangular mold to form ingots.

Because of the shape of the ingots, the cells in polycrystalline biggest solar panels are square, in contrast to the monocrystalline cells. And since they consist of multiple tiny crystals, their boundaries reflect a certain portion of the light, creating a shimmery blue look. Also, the blue color is due to the anti-reflective coating applied to increase light absorption.

Pros of polycrystalline solar

Lower price is the primary advantage of poly-Si options. Polycrystalline cells are also about 20% cheaper to produce, resulting in a lower solar panel price. The cost for polycrystalline modules averages between $0.90 and $1 per watt, or $5,400 to $6,000 for the entire 6kW solar system.

Blue panels are also deemed more environmentally friendly than black ones because their production produces much less waste.

Cons of polycrystalline solar

The lower cost unsurprisingly comes with the drawback of lower efficiency. Polycrystalline solar panel efficiency ratings will usually range from 13 to 16%, which means you will need more panels for the same output.

Blue solar panels also have a lower temperature coefficient of around -0.44% to -50%/ °C, therefore less suitable for hotter areas. And finally, despite polycrystalline solar systems being generally durable, they still tend to last slightly less than their monocrystalline counterparts.

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Types of black solar panels depending on the frame color

Overall, black solar panels are a more efficient and reliable option. So if you are ready to pay the premium, this is your option. However, not all monocrystalline panels are the same. You probably, noticed that some of them are all black while the others use white backing. This may come as a surprise, but this detail considerably affects the efficiency.

All black solar panels

All black solar panels come with black backsheets and black frames. As we’ve already mentioned, solar modules perform worse if they heat up. As black color generally absorbs more heat, it warms the panels and makes them slightly less efficient. Moreover, it results in less light trapping, increasing the optical losses. On the flip side, all black solar panels, with their compelling aesthetics, offer a sleeker and more polished look.

White-framed modules

In standard solar panels, the cells are placed on white backsheets creating a visible latticed pattern. Also, an unpainted aluminum frame makes the solar panel and black solar cells stand out even more. Most homeowners find these panels less visually pleasing, especially case of dark-colored roofs. And yet they are not prone to any additional efficiency losses.  

Renowned for their efficiency, durability, and sleek design, Panasonic HIT panels are a top choice for homeowners and businesses seeking reliable solar solutions. Our platform offers in-depth reviews, comparisons, and insights into the performance of Panasonic HIT Solar Panels, helping you make informed decisions about your solar investment.

Key takeaways

Optimal Efficiency:Monocrystalline black panels boast an impressive efficiency range of 17% to 22%, with cutting-edge PERC technology pushing boundaries to reach 24.5%.

Heat Tolerance:Black panels shine with a superior temperature coefficient (-0.30% to -0.40%/°C), ensuring peak performance even in varying climates.

Investment Justification:Despite a premium cost ($1 to $1.50 per watt), the exceptional operating performance of monocrystalline panels justifies the investment.

Affordability:Polycrystalline blue panels offer a cost-effective alternative at $0.90 to $1 per watt, though with a sacrifice in efficiency (13% to 16%).

Environmental Benefits:Blue panels contribute to sustainability by producing less waste during the manufacturing process.

Aesthetics vs. Efficiency:Choose between the sleek allure of all-black panels, with potential efficiency trade-offs due to heat absorption, or the cost-effective white-framed modules with a visually pleasing lattice pattern. Careful consideration ensures an informed choice tailored to both efficiency and aesthetics. Elevate your solar journey with the unparalleled power and visual appeal of black panels.

Mar 23, 2023
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