Solar panels, as you might already know, are mostly made with silicon. Silicon is a non-metallic material that is commonly found in electronics and appliances. This silicon in solar panels is used to absorb light, so that it can be generated into electricity to light up a home or building.
If you have seen solar panels pop up in Sunshine Coast neighborhoods, you only see them in 2 different colors: dark blue, or less commonly, black. There are no solar panels of any other color that are made of silicon at time of writing this article. But why is that? We are here to explain.
Blue solar panels
Blue solar panels are blue because of a type of polycrystalline silicon used in solar paneling. This silicon is melted and placed into a square mould during production. The silicon is not perfectly aligned, and as a result, creates many silicon crystals inside the mould that make the paneling blue in color and gives it a reflective layer. The finished product has a dark blue, yet glimmering appearance that can reflect sunrays and absorb light to produce an electric charge.
Polycrystalline cells are less expensive to create than monocrystalline cells, which are found in black solar panels. Because of this, blue solar panels are more affordable and common for the average homeowner. To be precise, 9 out of every 10 solar systems in Sunshine Coast and other parts of the world today have panels that are blue in color.
Black solar panels
Like polycrystalline cells, monocrystalline cells are created in a similar way, except rather than using many smaller silicon crystals one large crystal is used for each cell. The silicon being used is positioned in the same way so that one crystal is created during the production of the solar paneling. Because of how light interacts with monocrystalline silicon, the solar panel will be black in color, rather than appear dark blue.
The reason why monocrystalline silicon costs more than polycrystalline silicon is because of a process known as the “Czochralski Process”, as this process requires more energy in order to form the silicon to create one crystal at a time.
Blue solar panels and black solar panels both have their own advantages and disadvantages over one another, so keep this in mind when shopping for solar systems in Sunshine Coast.
As mentioned previously, black solar panels are more expensive than blue solar panels, solely due to the way that they are created as they require more energy and resources. Polycrystalline solar panels require a less complex process in order to be created, and thus, they are less expensive. However, black solar panels are more efficient. It will take multiple blue solar panels to match the efficiency of one black solar panel.
If you choose black solar panels, you are sure to store and use more energy from the sun, which is a better choice for long term investments. This means that you can save a lot of money each month on electric bills, so long as you do not mind the high upfront costs for when you buy and install the panels.
If you choose blue solar panels, you will pay smaller costs upfront. You will still be able to reduce electric bills every month, but not as much as black solar panels can. Because you would spend less, you would end up saving less. If you don’t have a lot of money to afford monocrystalline panels, and just want to be on the grid, don’t hesitate to choose blue colored solar paneling. You can always add more panels to your system in the future.