Why are my solar panels blue?

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When it comes to the colour of your solar panels, one of more common colours you’ll see is blue. But why blue? And what does the colour of your solar panels actually mean? Well, let’s take a more in-depth look and find out.

The colour of your solar panels isn’t done for cosmetic purposes, it’s all to do with how the solar panels are constructed and coated. The majority of today’s solar panels are made from either polycrystalline or monocrystalline, as their name probably tells you this means they are either made from a single crystal or multiple crystals.

The crystals are what provide the solar cells needed for the panels to actually work and take in energy. A polycrystalline solar panel is made up from multiple crystals and has a more fractured pattern to it.

The science of colour

So why do they appear to be blue then? Well, there is a scientific explanation for this, polycrystalline solar panels appear blue because of their anti-reflection coating. Once applied, the coating will appear blue because of its optimised wavelength on the solar spectrum. This means it is actually the silicon nitride anti-reflection coating that causes your solar panels to appear blue.

Monocrystalline solar panels, on the other hand, will appear black if they have an anti-reflection coating, and if they haven’t been coated then they will appear as a lighter grey colour. However they can also sometimes look blue if their coating has been improperly applied.

As a general rule, blue solar panels are polycrystalline panels, while darker black or grey panels are monocrystalline panels.

Are blue solar panels bad?

Blue solar panels are often compared with their darker coloured counterparts, which is essentially a comparison between polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels. Polycrystalline panels are cheaper but the trade-off is a slightly lower efficiency rating, which is usually around 18% on average.

Compared to the 20% on offer from monocrystalline solar panels, however, there is some variation so the difference might be quite minor to many people when factoring in the difference in price. The blue polycrystalline also feature a more fractured pattern when compared to the sleeker, darker look of monocrystalline panels.

While this is all down to personal preference many people down find the more fractured pattern of polycrystalline solar panels to go very well with their blue colouring. So, while blue solar panels may not look as sleek or smooth as the darker, monocrystalline panels many people find their design to still be very appealing.

Cosmetic differences aside, the colour of your solar panels does give you some insight into how they are made and formed. Both kinds of solar panels can certainly do the job but the reason blue panels are more common is they are often seen as the best all round option, when factoring in price and efficiency.

It is for this reason that Metrotile’s photovoltaic tiles are of the polycrystalline variety. For more information about our solar panels, or photovoltaic tiles, please fill out our contact form here or call us on  01249 658 514.