For decades, blue solar panels have covered rooves in neighbourhoods around the world. But why has blue been the common colour for the technology? Below, we explain the colours of solar panels and whether they’re due to change.
Raw Materials and Coatings
It’s obvious, but you can’t paint your solar panels to match your roof – the coating would severely block sunlight. So, you’re stuck with the colour of the raw materials. Polycrystalline silicon has been the most popular material used in the construction of solar cells. Because of how it reflects light, it has a light, speckled-blue appearance. But it’s not just the raw materials at play producing colour.
The job of a solar panel is to absorb sunlight, but silicon and a panel’s external glass layer reflect some of it. This has made anti-reflective (AR) coatings vital in efficient solar energy systems. And because of the way lights interacts with these AR coatings, they usually have a blueish tone – the shade of blue varies depending on the type and thickness of the coating.
Alternatives to Blue
As solar panel designs change, their colour does too. Monocrystalline silicon is a newer alternative to polycrystalline silicon and is becoming increasingly popular – that’ because it can offer more effective light absorption in certain environments. It also has a sleek black appearance.
Monocrystalline silicon cells are made of single silicon crystals, whereas Polycrystalline silicon cells are made up of many.
Then there are innovations like Tesla’s solar roof tiles that have earthier tones. They’ve achieved this with a new solar cell colourisation technique that could end up fading out the need for blue panels altogether.
Looking for blue or black solar panels for your home? Get in touch with our Brisbane solar panel installers or call us on 1300 954 993 for an obligation-free quote today.