Why are solar panels black ? Why are solar panels blue?
The kind of silicon used in the solar cells of the panel decides the solar PV panels colors. The blue color is largely due to an anti-reflective coating that helps improve the absorbing capacity and solar panel efficiency. It is a property of monocrystalline silicon, which make the blue solar panels. Black solar panels use a black colored surface as it naturally absorbs more light. This property is useful in the case of polycrystalline silicon, which make the black solar panels.
Why does silicon impart different colors ?
Silicon is a semiconductor and is popular among most modern electronics because of its ability to absorb most frequencies of light to produce electrical charge. Another reason for its prominence is that we can produce really high quality crystals at a relatively cheaper rate.
The reason for different color lies in the way incident light reacts with monocrystalline silicon lattice and polycrystalline silicon lattice –
Monocrystalline Panels (Black coloured)
These panels use highly pure crystals of silicon. All the silicon atoms are arranged in the same orientation and this results in a massive singular crystal. Hence the name, monocrystalline. They are black in color as it has more absorbent properties. The Czochralski process combines all the atoms of silicon into a single crystal and results in partial wastage of silicon. Consequently, monocrystalline panels are costlier than their polycrystalline counter-parts.
Polycrystalline Panels (Blue colored)
These panels are made from raw silicon majorly. This silicon is liquefied by melting and then poured into a square shaped mold. This process leads to improper alignment of silicon atoms and ends up forming multiple crystals of silicon. However, this process wastes less silicon when compared to the Czochralski process. Consequently, polycrystalline panels are cheaper than their monocrystalline counter-parts.
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