Solar modules in black or blue? Blue solar modules are polycrystalline PV modules. They are usually cheaper but have a lower efficiency. On the other hand, Black solar modules are monocrystalline and are becoming increasingly popular with private users due to their better performance. They also convince with a nicer look.
Why are the colours different?
Both black and blue PV modules have solar cells made of crystalline silicon. This is made from quartz sand. However, the colours of the solar modules are different because the manufacturing processes of both types differ.
Black monocrystalline solar cells consist of pure crystalline silicon. For this, a single silicon crystal has to be “grown” in a complex manner. For this purpose, the pure silicon is melted and cleaned. From the melt, it is drawn into a bar shape. The silicon rod is then cut into wafer-thin slices, so-called wafers. In the next step, the wafer surface is chemically cleaned.
Black solar modules are also available in the full black version. These are not only the solar cells themselves black but also other components, such as the back and the module frame. Full black modules are characterized by their aesthetic appearance but are also more expensive than conventional black PV modules.
Blue, polycrystalline solar cells also consist of pure silicon. However, the silicon is cast in the form of a block. When the block cools, it does not form one crystal but rather many crystal structures of different sizes within the block. Individual wafers are then cut from the block. Each wafer forms a solar cell. The cells are then combined into a module.
The efficiency of blue and black PV modules
Due to the different manufacturing methods of the PV modules, their efficiency also differs.
Monocrystalline solar modules have a significantly higher efficiency of around 18 to 26%. This is partly due to the uniform structure of the cells.
With polycrystalline modules, the efficiency is between 14% and 20%. The efficiency is lower because the electrons have less freedom of movement. This is due to the differently-sized crystal structures within the solar cells.
This way, monocrystalline solar modules achieve a higher energy yield over the same area. These values refer to direct sunlight.
Loss of performance and weak light behaviour
In the weak light, both types of modules lose performance. However, the power loss is lower with monocrystalline cells. Even in bad weather, they yield significantly more than the blue polycrystalline modules.
Polycrystalline PV modules score better when it comes to life. Throughout their lifetime, they lose less power than mono cells. This loss of performance is also called degradation.
Cost of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels
Black monocrystalline solar cells are more complex and, therefore, more expensive. In addition, they achieve even higher efficiencies, which is also reflected in the price. On average, monocrystalline solar modules are around 10% to 20% more expensive than polycrystalline modules.
Polycrystalline PV modules have a better price-performance ratio in general. The lower efficiency level is no longer important if there is enough space. In addition, the degradation of the modules is lower. Therefore, polycrystalline PV modules could be a good option if you have a large solar area.
The price per kWh of power for blue polycrystalline modules is between 150 and 250 euros. For monocrystalline modules, it is 200 to 340 euros.
Due to the lower price, polycrystalline solar modules account for around 80% of the modules installed today. However, monocrystalline modules are catching up.
Amortization of blue and black photovoltaic modules
A photovoltaic system can be expensive and quickly require an investment in the five-digit range. However, this usually pays off over the entire service life. You save a lot of money, especially with rising electricity prices. If you use the electricity, you generate yourself from photovoltaics.
An economic amortization of the blue and black modules takes about 8 to 12 years. With an average lifespan of good quality PV modules of 25 to 30 years, you will make a profit in the long term.
The energetic amortization is the time after which a PV module generates more energy than was required for production. The period has drastically reduced in recent years. This is because the manufacturing process for solar cells has become simpler, and their efficiency has increased. Less energy is therefore required to produce a module, and more solar energy is gained. Today it is less than two years, with polycrystalline modules paying for themselves a few months earlier than monocrystalline.
Areas of application for black and blue solar modules
Both solar module types are used both in the commercial and private sectors. If a sufficiently large area is available on the house roof, garage, carport, or even in the garden, you can choose the cheaper blue modules. However, if the area is limited or the solar radiation is unfavourable, you should rely on the black monocrystalline modules.
If you value a specific design or an attractive look, the black or anthracite-coloured mono modules are the better choice. They blend in particularly well on dark house roofs and thus look more inconspicuous and elegant. Full-black modules, in which all components are black, offer an improvement. This makes them look particularly good, but they are more expensive. The bifacial solar panels with the highest photoelectric conversion efficiency currently on the market is also made of monocrystalline silicon, mainly black.
Black or blue: which solar panels are better?
Be it black or blue solar panels, types have pros and cons. In the table below, you can see all the advantages and disadvantages again. Ultimately, however, the choice of modules depends on your personal needs and local conditions. If your budget is sufficient, it is recommended that you choose black solar panels when purchasing home solar kits.
Black solar panel Pros and Cons:
|Higher efficiency||Higher acquisition cost|
|Less space required||Longer payback period|
|Beautiful appearance||Slightly increased degradation|
|Better low-light behaviour|
Blue Solar Panels Pros and Cons:
|Faster Energy Amortization||greater space requirements|
|low degree of degradation||less visually appealing|